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May 03, 2019

'Star Wars' stars and celebrities react to Peter Mayhew's passing

Harrison Ford, George Lucas and more remember the man who played Chewbacca

Entertainment Celebrities
Star Wars stars and celebrities react to Peter Mayhew's passing PA Images/Sipa USA

Peter Mayhew the actor who played Chewbacca in the film franchise, "Star Wars," has died at the age of 74, his family has said. Mayhew and Ford arrive to the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" European Premiere held in Leicester Square, London.

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.

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