Peter Mayhew, the man who played the Star Wars actor Chewbacca, has died the age of 74, his family says.
Mayhew died in his north Texas home surrounded by family, as per the statement.
They didn’t affirm his illness yet TMZ reported his death was because of a heart condition.
The London-born actor played Chewbacca in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return Of The Jedi (1983), Revenge Of The Sith (2005) and The Force Awakens (2015).
He had been working at a London hospital when he was cast in the part that would make him well known – director George Lucas had been searching for somebody taller than Darth Vadar (who was 6ft 6in). Mayhew stood 7ft 3in.
Mayhew did not give the voice to the Wookiee but rather he was credited for the body language and expressions that made the hairy alien a fan favourite.
“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 (a weapon in the films) from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth,” his family said.
“But to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him 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.
“As the films released and became more well-known, he had his eyes opened to the possibilities of what he could achieve with his role in the Star Wars universe.”
These potential outcomes included work with various philanthropies and associations – Wounded Warriors, Make A Wish and the 501st Legion.
He likewise settled the Peter Mayhew Foundation which underpins a wide scope of requirements – from families in emergency to food supplies for kids in Venezuela.
Mayhew was brought into the world with a condition called gigantism and had double knee-replacement surgery in 2013. He spent much of of his later years in a wheelchair.
He turned into a US resident in 2005 and is made due by his wife Angie and three children.
Angie will take control of his foundation, where his “kindness, generosity and care will live on”, the family said.
Imprint Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films, portrayed Mayhew as the “gentlest of giants”.
On social media, he added: “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. Thanks Pete.”
A memorial service with friends and family will be held on 29 June and there will be a public memorial in early December in Los Angeles.