Actor Peter Mayhew, who won over fans worldwide as the Wookiee warrior Chewbacca in the blockbuster “Star Wars” movies, has died at the age of 74, his family announced on Thursday.
“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and it showed in every frame of the films from his knock-kneed running, firing his bowcaster from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth,” the statement said.
“But, to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more than a role in a film. The relationships that began then grew into the friends and family that he would love for decades to come.”
The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away. He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. pic.twitter.com/YZ5VLyuK0u
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) May 2, 2019
Mayhew started the Peter Mayhew Foundation to support people in crisis situations, including providing food and supplies for the children of Venezuela during their recent road to freedom.
“His kindness, generosity and care will live on in the Peter Mayhew Foundation with Angie taking the helm as his voice,” his family said.
A memorial service for friends and family will be held on June 29. In early December, there will be a memorial in Los Angeles for fans.
‘Star Wars’ Legend
“He was the gentlest of giants,” said Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy. “A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile.”
“And a loyal friend who I loved dearly-I’m grateful for the memories we shared & I’m a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete,” he added.
RIP Mr Mayhew you made Chewbacca real to all of us. pic.twitter.com/GfJ2ZqfqYY
— Certain Point of View was @ SWCC (@CPofView) May 2, 2019
Standing 7 feet and 3 inches tall, Mayhew once said playing Chewbacca transformed him, according to a statement on the “Star Wars” fanchise site.
“The attitude was different,” he said about acting in the costume. “The walk was different. Do the scenes, come back, take the mask off, Peter was back.”
“Star Wars” first debuted in theaters on May 25, 1977, and ignited a major worldwide fandom.
Source – edition.cnn.com, mid-day.com