‘Star Wars’ Team Mourns Peter ‘Chewbacca’ Mayhew

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Peter Mayhew, the real life giant who portrayed Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, died April 30. His family announced his death, though not its cause, via a May 2 tweet on his Twitter account. Mayhew, 74, died with his family at his side in his North Texas home. He is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children.

Mayhew was 7 feet 2 inches tall.

The family noted in the post: “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 blues eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth. But, to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more than a role in a film.

“Peter developed lifelong friendships with the other cast members and his fans while on the convention circuit touching the lives of millions.”

See the family’s tweet below. Mayhew was mourned by his fellow Star Wars cast members and its creator, George Lucas.

Lucas said, in a statement: “Peter was a wonderful man. He was the closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature.and I learned to always let him win. He was a good friend and I’m saddened by his passing.”

Mark Hamill, his Star Wars co-star as Luke Skywalker, wrote: “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 #Heartbroken

Watch a classic scene from 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope

Harrison Ford, whose Han Solo teamed with Chewbacca in the saga, wrote in a statement: “Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character. These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca. We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience.

“Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. He knew how important the fans of the franchise were to its continued success and he was devoted to them. I and millions of others will never forget Peter and what he gave us all. My thoughts are with his dear wife Angie and his children. Rest easy, my dear friend….”

Billy Dee Williams, Lando Calrissian in the films, shared his grief on his Twitter account.

Related: Our 2016 obituary of Kenny (“R2-D2”) Baker

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