The actor who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars film series is in the hospital after falling ill following a trip to the U.S.

Kenny Baker, 73, was taken ill on a plane after attending film conventions in Chicago. He was rushed to hospital after touching down at Manchester Airport Wednesday.

Baker's son said he had suffered problems with a long-standing asthma condition, but is expected to return to his Preston home this weekend.

The 3 foot, 8 inch star appeared in all six Star Wars movies. Hollywood director George Lucas personally selected him for the role.

Kevin Baker, 35, said: "[The asthma] is nothing serious just something that flares up every now and then. He just loves going to these conventions and meeting his fans. He gets on so well with the other guys from Star Wars and hates turning down any opportunity to appear."

The father of two and a grandfather of six previously worked as a circus and cabaret worker.

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