Peter Mayhew AKA: Chewbacca, Has Died

Natali Barias, Reporter

Getty Images; Photofest
Peter Mayhew played Chewbacca.

Peter Mayhew, the actor who played the original Chewbacca has died April 29, at the age of 74, with his family by his side in his North Texas home.

Mayhew played Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy. Between the years of 1977 and 2005, Mayhew  made appearances as Chewbacca in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Revenge of the Jedi, and Revenge of the Sith. His final appearance was in the film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but he did mentor his successor for the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

According to a tweet made last summer, Mayhew had undergone spinal surgery to help “improve mobility.” The surgery was successful. It is unclear what Mayhew’s cause of death was. The actor leaves behind his wife and three children. On June 29, a private memorial service for friends and family will be held. In December, there will be another memorial held for his fans at EmpireCon in Los Angelos.

Many of those who worked with Mayhew are mourning his death. Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker in the original StarWars trilogy, tweeted on Thursday that Mayhew was “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.”