Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew, who starred in the Star Wars franchise has passed away aged 74.
Peter Mayhew was cast to play Chewbacca in the original star wars trilogy beginning in 1977 and also acted in later films until 2015. He sadly passed away at his home in Texas on 30 April with his family by his side.
"He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and it showed in every frame," his family said.
Mayhew played Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, episode three of the prequels and the New Trilogy. Mayhew, who was wheelchair bound during filming of The Force Awakens pushed himself to stand tall one last time to portray Chewbacca.
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. pic.twitter.com/YZ5VLyuK0u
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) May 2, 2019
The tweet was met with thousands of heartbroken fans. Mayhew's family said "the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film".
"The relationships that began then grew into the friends and family that he would love for decades to come."
The London-born actor, who was 7ft 2in (2.18m) tall, is survived by his wife Angie and three children. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars films, described Mayhew as "the gentlest of giants".
In his later years Mr. Mayhew was "heavily involved" with non-profit organisations, and had launched his own foundation. Peters foundation supported "everything from individuals and families in crisis situations to food and supplies for children of Venezuela", a statement has said.
"A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile and a loyal friend who I loved dearly," Mark Hamill
The Daily Column can verify that the circumstances surrounding Mr. Mayhews death have not been disclosed by his family.
Since its conception, the hugely successful Star Wars franchise has made just over $7 Billion at the box office worldwide.