'Star Wars' actor who played Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew, dies at the age of 74

The actor had undergone spinal surgery in July in an attempt to improve his mobility. He passed away in his North Texas home surrounded by family.


                            'Star Wars' actor who played Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew, dies at the age of 74

The man inside the Chewbacca costume, Peter Mayhew, has died at the age of 74. Mayhew, who stood at 2.18 meters tall, died Tuesday, April 30, with his family by his side, according to a statement on his official Twitter account. The news was shared Thursday.

"Peter was the man behind the mask of Chewbacca in the original 'Star Wars' trilogy, episode three of the prequels and the new trilogy," the statement read. In order to improve his mobility, the actor had undergone spinal surgery in July.

Peter Mayhew attends the premiere of Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm's "Solo: A Star Wars Story" at the El Capitan Theater on May 10, 2018, in Hollywood, California. (Getty Images)

"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," the statement said.

"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 blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth."

Actor Peter Mayhew, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher (1956 - 2016), Kenny Baker (1934 - 2016), co-stars in the first Star Wars trilogy, UK, 20th May 1980. (Getty Images)

"Peter developed lifelong friendships with the other cast members and his fans while on the convention circuit, touching the lives of millions," it added. Mayhew is survived by his wife Angie Luker and their three children. Together, they are asking fans of Mayhew and 'Star Wars' to donate to his charity The Peter Mayhew Foundation instead of sending them flowers and gifts. The cause of death is not known.

The London native played Chewbacca in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), Revenge of the Sith (2005) and The Force Awakens (2015). His co-star Carrie Fisher, who played the role of Princess Leia in the original and sequel trilogies, died in December 2016.