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3 May 2019, 07:49 | Updated: 3 May 2019, 11:42
The actor, who played Chewbacca in the original Star Wars film, died in his home surrounded by his family
Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew has died aged 74, his family have confirmed.
Mayhew, who was best known for playing Chewbacca, died at his Texas home on 30 April surrounded by his family.
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
In a statement shared to Twitter, the family 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.
"But, to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film."
Mayhew played Chewbacca in the first ever Star Wars film, and appeared in a number of following films in the franchise dating to 2015.
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
Mark Hammil, who played Luke Skywalker in the original film, paid tribute to his co-star on Twitter, writing: "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".