Great disturbance in the Force as Star Wars' 'big walking carpet' is laid to rest

RIP: Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew

Peter Mayhew & Harrison Ford at the European premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Leicester Square, London. December 16, 2015 London, UK Picture: James Smith / Featureflash - Image
Peter Mayhew with Harrison Ford at the London premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Leicester Square, 2015. Pic: James Smith / Shutterstock

Obit Peter Mayhew, the actor best known for playing Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, has died aged 74.

His family said in a statement: "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."

In response Mark Hamill tweeted: "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."

Mayhew's family said he put his heart and soul into the original Star Wars trilogy but that the "Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film".

The "big walking carpet", as Chewbacca was once branded by Carrie Fisher's character Princess Leia, also consulted on Star Wars: The Last Jedi to help his successor Joonas Suotamo learn the role.

Mayhew developed relationships with not just the cast and crew members but also fans of the films through his involvement with fan conventions around the world.

He established the Peter Mayhew Foundation which offered help to families and individuals in crisis and most recently provided food aid for children in Venezuela.

Mayhew was born in Barnes, London in 1944 and worked as a hospital orderly before turning to acting.

He is survived by his wife Angie and three children.

The family have asked people to consider donating to his foundation in his memory. ®

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