This Dec. 16, 2015 file photo shows Peter Mayhew, left, and Harrison Ford at the European premiere of the film ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens ’ in London. (Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP, File)

This Dec. 16, 2015 file photo shows Peter Mayhew, left, and Harrison Ford at the European premiere of the film ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens ’ in London. (Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP, File)

VIDEO: Star Wars family mourns Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew

Mayhew died at his home in Texas this week. He was 74.

Peter Mayhew, the towering actor who donned a huge, furry costume to give life to the rugged-and-beloved character of Chewbacca in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and two other films, has died.

Mayhew died at his home in north Texas on Tuesday, according to a family statement. He was 74. No cause was given.

READ MORE: New Disney Star Wars theme park lands set opening dates

As Chewbacca, known to his friends as Chewie, the 7-foot-3 Mayhew was a fierce warrior with a soft heart, loyal sidekick to Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, and co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon.

Mayhew went on to appear as the Wookiee in the 2005 prequel “Revenge of the Sith” and shared the part in 2015’s “The Force Awakens” with actor Joonas Suotamo, who took over the role in subsequent films.

He defined the incredibly well-known Wookiee and became a world-famous actor for most of his life without speaking a word or even making a sound — Chewbacca’s famous roar was the creation of sound designers.

“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and it showed in every frame of the films,” the family statement said. “But, to him, the ‘Star Wars’ family meant so much more to him than a role in a film.”

“Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character. These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca. We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience.” — Harrison Ford, who starred opposite Mayhew in four “Star Wars” films, in a statement.

“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.” — Mark Hamill, who starred opposite Mayhew in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, via Twitter.

“Peter was a wonderful man. He was the closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature.and I learned to always let him win. He was a good friend and I’m saddened by his passing.” — “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, in a statement.

“Studying the character he helped create was always a daunting task, but one that was made easier by his tutelage and kindness as we sought to bring Chewbacca to life for a new generation. He was an absolutely one-of-kind gentleman and a legend of unrivaled class and I will miss him.” — Joonas Suotamo, who now plays Chewbacca after serving as his double on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” via Twitter.

“RIP Peter Mayhew. To create a beloved character with warmth and humour is a testament to any actor’s spirit. To do it under a half ton of yak hair takes a true legend.” — Rian Johnson, who directed “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” via Twitter.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Photo courtesy Dan Wood)
PHOTOS: Saanich firefighters free trapped workers at Uptown Walmart

Incident reported as explosion after driver rammed through wall

Tiny packets of carrots ready to be distributed in Victoria. (Submitted/Victoria Seed Share)
Free Victoria seed sharing collective bags work experience funding

Fully volunteer run Victoria Seed Share will get a boost from provincial grant

Beach fires are not permitted in Saanich but portable, gas-powered fire pits are welcome everywhere – including at municipal parks and beaches. (Pixabay)
Beach fires not cool in Saanich but gas-powered fire pits permitted

Respect others, bylaws while still enjoying an outdoor fire, firefighter says

Saanich police hope to identify a suspect caught on camera entering a building in the 3300-block of Whittier Avenue in Saanich on March 12 and leaving with a stolen package. (Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers photo)
Suspect caught on camera pinching parcel from Saanich building

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers share images to help identify suspect

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Police are investigating after a man was shot Thursday, April 8 while sitting in a car in Vancouver. (Black Press files)
Man shot in Vancouver while sitting in a parked car: police

The victim is currently in critical condition. Police say no arrests have been made.

Teachers from SD42 and other districts in the Lower Mainland flocked to Surrey on Tuesday in the hopes of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (Sheelagh Brothers/Twitter)
Don’t line up for vaccines unless asked to come, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

Social media post shows teachers lining up outside of Surrey clinic for leftover doses

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

Most Read