Peter Mayhew death: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, other celebs mourn ‘Star Wars’ Chewbacca actor

Peter Mayhew, best known for playing Chewbacca in the “Star Wars” films, has died at 74 – and celebrities are taking to social media to remember the legendary actor.

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.

Harrison Ford, whose Han Solo flew the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca, praised “the wit and grace” of his film co-pilot in a statement provided by his publicist.

“We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the ‘Star Wars’ audience,” Ford said. “Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. (Peter) knew how important the fans of the franchise were to its continued success and he was devoted to them. I and millions of others will never forget Peter and what he gave us all.”

Fellow “Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill took to Twitter to share photos of Mayhew along with a sweet message.

“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,” he wrote.

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#[email protected]/8xbq9HEWF2

George Takei, a veteran of another beloved space franchise, “Star Trek,” shared the news along with a short message: “A sad day for millions of fans.”

A sad day for millions of fans. https://t.co/qRfFWOd4ck

Elijah Wood, who starred in “The Lord of the Rings” films, also tweeted about the news.

“Sad to hear of Peter Mayhew’s passing,” he wrote. “So long, Chewie, may the force be with you.”

Sad to hear of Peter Mayhew's passing. So long, Chewie, may the force be with you.

Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger tweeted about the man who played the legendary character in a franchise that is now part of Disney.

“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,” he wrote.

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.

Contributing: Cydney Henderson

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