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Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew Has Died at 74

Today is a sad day for Star Wars fans as another one of the original cast members has passed away. Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in all three Star Wars movies and that Christmas special that Jefferson Starship and Bea Arthur were in for some reason, was 74 when he died from a heart attack

The actor’s death was announced on social media by his family.

Mayhew is the fourth main cast member of Star Wars to die, following Sir Alec Guinness in 2000, and Kenny Baker  and Carrie Fisher in 2016.

One interesting tidbit is that at the end of Star Wars, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker get medals while Chewbacca doesn’t. Mayhew used to point out that Chewbacca has the last line in the movie, but 20 years later at the MTV Movie Awards, Carrie Fisher finally gave Peter Mayhew a medal.

Man, even though that was meant as a joke, watching it now is all sorts of bittersweet.

Some of Mayhew’s surviving castmates offered their sympathy.

Harrison Ford made a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

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.

Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. He knew how important the fans of the franchise were to its continued success and he was devoted to them. I and millions of others will never forget Peter and what he gave us all.  My thoughts are with his dear wife Angie and his children. Rest easy, my dear friend….

JJ Abrams, who directed Mayhew in The Force Awakens, also sent his condolences to Mayhew’s family.

Peter Mayhew never really found success as an actor outside of playing Chewbacca, but he was beloved by fans all around the world and, when he was healthy, was a mainstay on the convention circuit. Mayhew’s had medical problems over the past few years, including having his knees replaced, but throughout it all, he smiled for his fans in photos from the hospital. He may be gone and he may have only had one film role, but it’s a role that will ensure he’s remembered fondly by future generations.

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