Peter Mayhew, best known for playing Chewbacca in ‘Star Wars,’ dies at 74

Peter Mayhew, the legendary actor best known for playing Chewbacca in the “Star Wars” films, has died at 74. 

Mayhew’s family announced on Twitter Thursday that the actor died Tuesday: “He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home.”

Lucasfilm also confirmed Mayhew’s death to USA TODAY.

“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca,” his family wrote. “It showed in every frame of the films from his knock kneed running, firing his bowcaster from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth.”

Actor Peter Mayhew, best known for playing Chewbacca in the "Star Wars" films, has died at 74. (Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images for Disney)

Mayhew played the iconic Wookiee in five “Star Wars” films, including the original trilogy and most recently in 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall and portray Chewbacca once more in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the family’s statement continued. “He also consulted on (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) in an attempt to teach his successor.”

Related: Peter Mayhew (aka Chewie) wears ‘New Hope’ medal at ‘Star Wars’ premiere

“To him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film,” his family said. 

Mayhew’s death comes just days before Star Wars Day on May 4. 

He is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children. 

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