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

Just Posted

Passenger counts still rising at West Kootenay Regional Airport

Reliability rates also on rise in second quarter.

City of Castlegar treating weeds the next few weeks

City will be using organic product on sidewalks, traffic islands and parking lots.

Summer reading fun at Castlegar library

Registration for second session in July 19.

Last stop: The inside story of Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure

Former employees open up about the Nelson company’s final days

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

CONTEST: Scene it?

Castlegar News’ weekly photo location contest.

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Most Read