Some very sad news coming from A Galaxy Far, Far Away just before this year’s Star Wars Day: actor Peter Mayhew, who played the iconic role of Chewbacca in a number of Star Wars productions, including the original 1977 movie, has passed away at the age of 74.

Mayhew’s family shared the news via the beloved star’s Twitter page on Thursday, saying “with deep love and sadness” that they “regret to share the news that Peter has passed away.”

  • Apparently Peter Mayhew had passed away at his home in Texas several days ago on the evening of April 30, though his family chose not to share the news until today .
  • Mayhew starred as the Wookiee Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, The Star Wars Holiday Special, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and Episode VII: The Force Awakens, not to mention numerous other appearances on TV and in public.

  • He served as a consultant on Star Wars: The Last Jedi to help train his successor, Joonas Suotamo, as the younger actor stepped into the role of Chewbacca for that movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

  • Mayhew was heavily involved with the 501st Legion, Wounded Warriors, Make-a-Wish, and other non-profit charitable organizations, and always sought to give back to the Star Wars fan community via his fame and the enduring popularity of the Chewbacca character.

  • There will be a memorial service for his family and friends held on June 29, and in early December fans can pay tribute during a special memorial at EmpireConLA in Los Angeles, California.
  • In lieu of gifts or flowers, the Mayhew family has asked that well-wishers contribute to the Peter Mayhew Foundation, which supports everything from individuals and families in crisis situations to food and supplies for children of Venezuela during their recent road to freedom.
  • Peter Mayhew is survived by his wife Angie and his three children.