Actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, has died aged 74 on Thursday. He passed away at his home in Texas on 30 April with his family by his side.
Mayhew, whose face was never seen in the "Star Wars" films - his entire body was always clothed in his Wookiee costume - died at his north Texas home on Tuesday, according to the family`s statement on Twitter, but no cause of death was given.
Mayhew was an aspiring actor working as a hospital orderly in 1976 when George Lucas tapped him to play the part. Mayhew's primary qualification for the job was his height: he stood 7 feet 3 inches tall (220 cm). Mayhew didn't utter Chewbacca's famous grunts and growls—those were voiced by sound-effects legend Ben Burtt.
He made his first appearance as the beloved, bleating Chewbacca character in the landmark 1977 sci-fi action-thriller "Star Wars," and went on to co-star in four more films in the blockbuster films like "The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens.
Mayhew also served as an off-camera consultant on the final 2017 film in the series, "The Last Jedi," helping to tutor his successor in the Chewbacca role on the ways of convincingly playing a Wookiee.