By Ann Schmidt
Published May 02, 2019
“Star Wars” stars and fans mourned the loss of actor Peter Mayhew on Thursday night.
The 74-year-old actor, best known for his role as Chewbacca in the “Star Wars” movie series, died on Tuesday, according to a tweet from 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," the tweet posted Thursday read.
Mayhew’s fans and friends paid tribute to the beloved actor on social media after the family’s announcement.
Mark Hamill, who starred alongside Mayhew in the “Star Wars” series as Luke Skywalker, penned a moving tribute to his former co-star.
“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,” Hamill wrote, alongside pictures of himself with Mayhew.
Actor Joonas Suotamo played Chewbacca as a double for Mayhew in 2015's “The Force Awakens” and tweeted a simple “R.I.P.” on Thursday night, with a longer statement and a picture of the two actors.
"Peter's warm welcome when I came aboard as his double in The Force Awakens meant so much to me," his statement said, in part. "He was an absolutely one-of-a-kind gentleman and a legend of unrivaled class and I will miss him."
Suotamo continued: "Rest assured his legacy will live on and the spirit that he gave the character when he first donned the suit will never be forgotten."
"Rest In Peace My Friend," the 33-year-old actor added.
Disney CEO Robert Iger also paid tribute to the actor.
"The @WaltDisneyCo mourns the loss of our beloved #chewbacca portrayer, #PeterMayhew. Peter was larger than life in so many ways...a gentle giant playing a gentle giant. Rest in peace," Iger tweeted.
William Shatner, known for his roles on the original “Star Trek” television series, tweeted his condolences to Mayhew’s family and reminisced about his friendship with the actor.
“I am so sorry to hear about Peter. We had so many fun and memorable tweets back and forth over the years plus seeing each other at a convention here and there. My deepest condolences to his family. He will be sorely missed!” Shatner tweeted.
George Takei, also of “Star Trek” fame, wrote on Twitter: “A sad day for millions of fans.”
Author Neil Gaiman offered his sympathies to Mayhew’s family, saying: “I am so very sorry to hear this. My sympathies and love to the family.”
“Lord of the Rings” star Elijah Wood also paid tribute to Mayhew, tweeting: “Sad to hear of Peter Mayhew’s passing. So long, Chewie, may the force be with you.”
Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt also tweeted about the loss of Mayhew, saying: "Aw hell, Chewbacca. #RIPPeterMayhew."
"Star Trek: Voyager" actor Robert Picardo called Mayhew "a giant in stature and kindness," on Twitter.
"Sad to hear of the passing of Peter Mayhew, a giant in stature and kindness. He was deeply committed to many charitable causes. His gentle soul will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him," he tweeted.
Noah Segan, who acted in the 2017 film "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," paid tribute to Mayhew in two tweets.
"A short Chewbacca story: A few years ago, I got to visit Pinewood Studios, where they shoot Star Wars. In the Warbrobe Department, there was a small room where they kept the Chewie costumes. When I saw him, I couldn’t help myself. Something came over me," he wrote.
"I ran up to Chewie and hugged the costume. The handful of other people on the tour did the same, one by one. No one mentioned it. When we left the room, our guide said, 'Everyone has the same reaction when they see him. They all hug him. We don’t even try to stop it anymore,'" he added in a second tweet.
Actor Daniel Logan, who played Boba Fett in "Star Wars: Episode II," said he was grateful to have known Mayhew.
"We have lost a beloved member of the Star Wars family. My heart is breaking. I am so grateful I knew Peter & could call him a friend. He was a mentor, a friend & a family member. Peter is now one with the Force. Lovely man who loved all his fans. RIP my friend. We all love you!" he tweeted.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.