It is with great sorrow that we announce that Peter Mayhew, the actor who brought Chewbacca to life, has passed away. He was 74.
Peter passed on April 30th, 2019, surrounded by his family. His cause of death is not known at this time, but he had been struggling with his health in recent years. Recently he had had spinal surgery in July of 2018 to help improve his mobility. He is survived by his wife Angie and their three children.
Peter was a hospital orderly when he was cast to play the iconic role of Chewbacca. He was cast largely because of his great height, coming in at over 7 feet tall. After the release of Return of the Jedi, he continued to make numerous appearances as Chewbacca, working in commercials and visiting sick children. He reprised his role in Revenge of the Sith, and he shared the role with Joonas Suotamo in The Force Awakens. Due to health issues, he retired from the role of Chewbacca after The Force Awakens but stayed on as a Chewbacca Consultant.
Peter was also well known and loved in the fan convention scene, making regular appearances and interacting with fans. He even maintained an active social media presence, especially on Reddit. He was known for dropping encouraging comments to fans. His last comment especially was wholesome and heartwarming.
Co-Stars, friends, and fans alike have been posting their condolences and sharing their memories of him. Mark Hamill referred to him as “the gentlest of giants” and our very own staff member Shawn Crosby said “he was as warm, charming, and down to earth as you’d hope he’d be. “
This is a very sad day for us all. It is never easy to lose someone, but to lose our heroes is the hardest loss of all. May the force be with you Peter.
The family has asked in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Peter Mayhew Foundation.