Almost two and a half years after Star Wars fans had to say goodbye to Carrie Fisher, they now must do the same with another iconic member of the cast. Peter Mayhew, who played the lovable Chewbacca, passed away on April 30 according to a statement released by his family on the actor’s Twitter page. According to TMZ, Mayhew passed away from a heart condition.
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 he side in his North Texas home.
Peter was the man behind the mask of Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, episode 3 of the sequels, and the New Trilogy. He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall and portray Chewbacca once more in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He also consulted The Last Jedi in an attempt to teach his successor.
He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and 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. But, to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more to him than a role in a film.
The relationships that began then grew into the friends and family that he would love for decades to come. As the films released and became more well-known he had his eyes opened to the possibilities of what he could achieve with his role in the Star Wars universe. For more than 30 years Peter traveled all over the world spending time with his fans and friends.
Peter developed lifelong friendships with the other cast members and his fans while on the convention circuit touching the lives of millions. As he realized over the years the impact he could have, he became heavily involved with the 501st legion, Wounded Warriors, Make-a-Wish, and other non-profit organizations.
To this end, he established the Peter Mayhew Foundation, supporting everything from individuals and families in crisis situations to food and supplies for children in Venezuela during their recent road to freedom. He not only provided funds but became personally involved with each individual, family, and cause he supported.
As he grew older he continued to “soldier on” as he put it and was completely in his element around his fans and supporters. He grew great strength from the energy of his family, friends, and the fans he knew and loved.
He is survived by his wife and three children. His kindness, generosity, and care will live on in the Peter Mayhew foundation with Angie taking the helm as his voice.
There will be a memorial service for friends and family held on June 29th and in early December in Los Angeles there will be a memorial for his fans set up with his family in attendance, personal effects, and collection at EmpireConLA.
Mayhew’s legacy will live on forever, as the legendary movie franchise refuses to slow down.