May 03, 2019
Peter Mayhew, 74, the "Star Wars" actor who played Chewbacca the Wookie, passed away at his home in North Texas on Tuesday, his family confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.
After his death was announced, the Star Wars cast and crew, celebrities, and fans all reacted to the news with an outpouring of love.
While the cause of death was not mentioned in the statement, a fan wrote on Twitter their experience of meeting him. They tweeted, “Only 3 weeks ago this day I met the wonderful Peter Mayhew. He was so so unwell, but managed to sign autographs. He dropped his pen twice trying to sign but still gave me a huge smile. Such a warm hearted and kind man who truly embraced and loved the 'Star Wars' universe.”
Mayhew, who stood at 7-feet-2-inches, played Han Solo’s sidekick in the original "Star Wars" trilogy. He would later come back for "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" in 2005 and "Episode VII: The Force Awakens" in 2015.
Harrison Ford delivered a heartfelt statement for his sidekick on Thursday morning to The Hollywood Reporter. He says, "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.”
George Lucas, Star Wars creator, also commented on Mayhew’s passing in a statement noting that he was a “wonderful man.” He says, “He was the closest human being could be to a Wookie: big heart, gentle nature - and I learned to always let him win. He was a good friend, and I’m saddened by his passing.”
Other people within the "Star Wars" universe took to Twitter to give their condolences, including the official "Star Wars" account, Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, and directors JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson. Other celebrities, such as New Jersey filmmaker Kevin Smith and William Shatner, delivered caring and sincere words for the departed actor.
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 Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 2, 2019
May the Force Be with You, #PeterMayhew! As the King of the Cinematic Sidekicks, your performance helped make my childhood fun! Thank you for bringing Chewbacca to life and for always waving the flag for fandom! We may have let the Wookie win, but YOU won our hearts, sir! pic.twitter.com/B6cpKTKyv2— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) May 3, 2019
"We are deeply saddened today by the news of Peter Mayhew’s passing. Since 1976, Peter’s iconic portrayal of the loyal, lovable Chewbacca has been absolutely integral to the character’s success, and to the Star Wars saga itself."-Kathleen Kennedy.— Star Wars (@starwars) May 3, 2019
More: https://t.co/iGfk9XRzKa pic.twitter.com/5edrPrEuRS
💔I am so sorry to hear about Peter. We had so many fun and memorable tweets back and forth over the years plus seeing each other at a convention here and there. My deepest condolences to his family. He will be sorely missed! 😢 https://t.co/R3lAEvkQJc— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) May 2, 2019
RIP Peter Mayhew. To create a beloved character with warmth and humor is a testament to any actor’s spirit. To do it under a half ton of yak hair takes a true legend. ❤️❤️— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) May 3, 2019