Peter Mayhew is forever Chewbacca: RIP, 2019

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The passing of Peter Mayhew has led to an outpouring of tributes from Star Wars fans and the actors from the legendary film franchise. Peter Mayhew portrayed Chewbacca in all the original films, and passed the torch to a new generation over the course of the filming of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

"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", his family said in a statement. It reads, "Peter was the loveliest man".

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In the video above, Suotamo describes the unique, "animalistic" gait that the 7-foot-3 Mayhew brought to the furry and ferocious alien, and describes how he continued to study and seek insight from Mayhew's performances. "He was a good friend and I'm saddened by his passing", George Lucas said in a statement.

At Star Wars Celebration in Chicago just a few weeks ago, Joonas Suotamo invoked Mayhew's enduring influence as he discussed playing the Wookiee in this December's The Rise of Skywalker.

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Mayhew's co-star and Millennium Falcon co-pilot Harrison Ford (Han Solo) made a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience. Survived by three children and his partner, Angie, Mayhew was born in Surrey, England, but passed away in the Texan town of Boyd. I and millions of others will never forget Peter and what he gave us all. "Rest easy, my dear friend...." When I first met Peter during The Force Awakens, I was immediately impressed by his kind and gentle nature. (Get it? It's a play on "may the Force be with you.") The event's become even bigger since Disney purchased Lucasfilm and the Star Wars movie franchise in 2012.

Warwick Davis - who starred as Ewok, Wicket W. Warrick in 1983's "Return Of The Jedi" - has also paid tribute to Peter and stated the actor had a "big heart and lovely humour". "He was an absolutely one-of-kind gentleman and a legend of unrivaled class and I will miss him".

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