This is going to be a sad May 4th (a veritable holiday for Star Wars Fans — “May the fourth be with you”). Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca the Wookiee in the original trilogy, died on Tuesday (April 30) his family announced today (May 2).
According to a statement released by his family on Twitter, he died at his North Texas home, surrounded by his family.
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. pic.twitter.com/YZ5VLyuK0u— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) May 2, 2019
The statement from his family mentioned that “He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall and portray Chewbacca once more in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He also consulted on The Last Jedi in an attempt to teach his successor.”
Mayhew went on to appear as Chewbacca in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Revenge of the Sith, The Force Awakens and in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.
As expected, many fans took to social media to pay their respects to Mayhew. Here are some notable reactions:
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 #RIPPeterMayhew #Heartbroken @TheWookieeRoars pic.twitter.com/8xbq9HEWF2— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 2, 2019
Thank you for bringing Chewbacca to life and giving us years of memories. Rest In Peace, Peter Mayhew. May the Force be with you. pic.twitter.com/lBwy1N3GKS— New York Comic Con (@NY_Comic_Con) May 2, 2019
Sad to hear of Peter Mayhew's passing. So long, Chewie, may the force be with you.— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) May 2, 2019
We had the honor of meeting Peter Mayhew at Star Wars Celebration last month. Today we thank him for making Star Wars feel like home for many fans. Rest in peace, Mr. Mayhew. pic.twitter.com/dpCDbaCR0c— Funko (@OriginalFunko) May 2, 2019
The night before The Force Awakens panel at Star Wars Celebration 2015, I was at a dinner with the cast and sat next to Peter Mayhew.— Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) May 2, 2019
He was a lovely man who told wonderful stories about his giant friendship with tiny Kenny Baker.
Chewbacca’s warmth did not come from the fur. https://t.co/hl76zHPgNs
Peter Mayhew brought so much more than just height to playing Chewie -- he gave the character grace, humor and heart. He wasn't a sidekick, or at least he wasn't to me: "Han and Chewie" felt complete and right in a way that either name alone never could.— Jason Fry (@jasoncfry) May 2, 2019
We are saddened to learn of the passing of actor Peter Mayhew, most famous for his portrayal of Chewbacca.— RiffTrax (@RiffTrax) May 2, 2019
Our deepest condolences to the Mayhew family. pic.twitter.com/WVEsepFtcn
So very sad to hear of the passing of our lovable favorite Wookie. Rest in peace, Peter Mayhew????— Hot Topic (@HotTopic) May 2, 2019