- 03 May 19
Friends, family and Star Wars fans mourn the loss of the great Peter Mayhew
On April 30, at the age of 74, Peter Mayhew passed away, surrounded by his wife and three children. In a statement, his family said, “his kindness, generosity and care will live on in the Peter Mayhew Foundation with Angie taking the helm as his voice.” In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family of Mayhew have suggested that fans make donations to the foundation, which was set up to support people in crisis situations.
Since 1977, Peter Mayhew embodied the role of Chewbacca in the Star Wars franchise. The 7 foot 3 inches actor brought a unique expression to the predominantly physical role and the character has resonated with audiences worldwide. Having appearing as the friendly Wookie in the original film, Mayhew went on to reprise the character in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Revenge of the Sith and Force Awakens films. He later passed the reins to Joonas Suotamo, an actor he mentored to become his successor.
“He put his heart and soul into the role,” his family wrote. “The relationships that began then grew into the friends and family he would love for decades to come.” This is evident in the number of tributes that have been flowing in from friends and fans alike.
Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the saga, took to Twitter to pay his respects. “He was the gentlest of giants”, Hamill wrote. “I’m a better man for just having known him”.
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 (@MarkHamill) May 2, 2019
Co-writer and producer of a number of the new generation Star Wars films JJ Adrams, posted a handwritten note and photo to Twitter expressing his grief. “Peter was the loveliest man… kind and patient, supportive and encouraging. A sweetheart to work with and already deeply missed”.
— JJ Abrams (@jjabrams) May 3, 2019
His successor Joonas Suotamo also took to Twitter to share his condolences. “Rest assured his legacy will live on and the spirit that he gave the character when he first donned the suit will never be forgotten.”
R.I.P 😔 pic.twitter.com/FWRgaOS0Tf
— Joonas Suotamo (@JoonasSuotamo) May 2, 2019
Rest in peace Peter Mayhew.
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