Posted on :- 03/05/2019
Peter Mayhew, the man who played Han Solo's Wookiee sidekick Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, has died aged 74.
The actor's family announced on social media that the English-American actor had died on April 30, surrounded by family 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," they said.
"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.
Co-star Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, remembered Mayhew as "the gentlest of giants".
"A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile and a loyal friend who I loved dearly — I'm grateful for the memories we shared and I'm a better man for having known him," Hamill said on Twitter
Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian in Episodes V and VII, tweeted: "My heart hurts … I will miss you my dear friend … thanks for the great memories!"
Finnish actor Joonas Suotamo, who played Chewbacca in Episodes VII and VIII, as well as Solo: A Star Wars Story, described Mayhew as a mentor, a "one-of-a-kind gentleman and a legend of unrivalled class".
A memorial service for family and friends will be held on June 29, with a memorial for fans set to take place in early December in Los Angeles