Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca from ‘Star Wars’ Films, Dies at 74

Peter Mayhew — best known for his role as Chewbacca in multiple ‘Star Wars’ films — has died at the age of 74…

Peter Mayhew — best known for his portrayal of Chewbacca in the ‘Star Wars’ universe of films — has died at the age of 74.

His family announced the news via Twitter while stating that Mayhew passed away on April 30 surrounded by friends and family in Texas. Here’s part of that statement posted about Mayhew’s passing:

“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.
“Peter was the man behind the mask of Chewbacca in the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, episode 3 of the prequels and the new trilogy. He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall and portray Chewbacca once more in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’. He also consulted on ‘The Last Jedi’ in an attempt to teach his successor. 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. But to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film.”

The 7-foot-2-inch tall actor was born in England but called the United States his home for much of his life.

After landing a role in the film ‘Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger’ before Mayhew was discovered by George Lucas when he was seeking a tall actor to portray Chewbacca in the original ‘Star Wars’ film. David Prowse was originally considered for the role but he ended up playing Darth Vader instead and Mayhew was cast as Han Solo’s best friend and co-pilot.

Mayhew appeared in five ‘Star Wars’ films during his lifetime and then consulted on ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ as he passed the Chewbacca mantle over to Joonas Suotamo.

Mayhew was a regular at science fiction conventions and also appeared as Chewbacca at children’s hospitals around the world.

In his later life, Mayhew struggled with bad knees and eventually had to undergo extensive surgery to repair the damage. He also underwent spinal surgery in 2018 to help him with his mobility.

Mayhew will long be remembered as an icon of the ‘Star Wars’ family and will undoubtedly be honored with the upcoming ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’, which is the final film in the current trilogy of sequels.

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