Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca passed away
Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, died on Tuesday. He was aged 74 years.
The cause of Mayhew's death was not announced ny his family. The 7-foot-2-inch actor who played a fictional charcater from another planet in Star Wars had mobility issues in recent years. He also underwent spinal surgery in 2019.
Mayhew's claim to stardom came with the role of Chewbacca, the Wookiee copilot of the Millennium Falcon, in the original Star Wars trilogy and returned for Episode III — Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens. Chewbacca was part of a core group of Rebels who restored freedom to the galaxy
The actor was born in England in 1944 and diagnosed with gigantism at age 8. As a young man, he worked at a hospital. He was called in to audition for Star Wars after its producer spotted him in a photo in a local newspaper.
"He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall and portray Chewbacca once more in Star Wars: The Force Awakens," a family statement said. "He also consulted on The Last Jedi in an attempt to teach his successor."
For decades, Mayhew traveled to conventions and developed deep relationships with fans and other cast members, his family said.
"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 family statement said. "But to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film."
A memorial service for family and friends is planned for June 29, and a memorial for fans will take place in December at Empire Con LA.