Peter Mayhew, the legendary actor best known for playing Chewbacca in the “Star Wars” films, has died at 74.
Mayhew’s family announced on Twitter Thursday that the actor died Tuesday: “He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home.”
“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca,” his family wrote. “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.”
Mayhew played the iconic Wookiee in five “Star Wars” films, including the original trilogy and most recently in 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
“He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall and portray Chewbacca once more in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the family’s statement continued. “He also consulted on (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) in an attempt to teach his successor.”
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
“To him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film,” his family said.
Mayhew’s death comes just days before Star Wars Day on May 4.
Fellow original “Star Wars” star Mark Hamill paid tribute to Mayhew on Twitter Thursday, calling him “the gentlest of giants” and “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 and I’m a better man for just having known him.”