Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew has died aged 74
He played Chewbacca in five of the Star Wars movies
In a statement released by his family, it was announced late on Thursday evening that 74-year-old actor Peter Mayhew had passed away in his home on Tuesday 30 April.
Mayhew was best known for playing the role of Chewbacca in the original Star Wars Trilogy, as well as Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith, and Episode VII: The Force Awakens, before passing on the role to Joonas Suotamo for Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, but Mayhew remained on the project as a consultant.
In the family's statement, they said that "the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film".
"He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall and portray Chewbacca once more in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The relationships that began [in these movies] then grew into the friends and family that he would love for decades to come."
Mayhew's co-star Mark Hamill also took to Twitter, calling him "the gentlest of giants. [...] A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile and a loyal friend who I loved dearly."
He was the gentlest of giants-A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & 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 #RIPPeterMayhew #Heartbroken @TheWookieeRoars pic.twitter.com/8xbq9HEWF2
— Mark HoHoHoHamill (@HamillHimself) May 2, 2019