Star Wars fans and the entertainment industry collectively wept yesterday as news broke that Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the original Star Wars films, died at age 74.

Confirmation came from the actor’s official Twitter account in the form of a statement from his family.

Execs Kathleen Kennedy (president of Lucasfilm) and Bob Iger (CEO of Disney) also paid their respects.

Heartfelt RIP messages from his Star Wars co-stars, actors involved in the later Star Wars properties, and other celebs chimed in, including Carrie Fisher’s dog, Gary.

Harrison Ford released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter mourning the loss of his longtime friend. Read part of it below:

“Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character. These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca. 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.

Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. He 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.  My thoughts are with his dear wife Angie and his children. Rest easy, my dear friend. …”

Read editor James Zahn’s full obituary here.

Photo: Lucasfilm

About the author

Sierra McCleary-Harris

Sierra McCleary-Harris

Sierra McCleary-Harris is a senior editor at Adventure Publishing Group, editing and producing content for the Toy Insider, the Toy Book, and the Pop Insider. If she's not at her desk, you can find her somewhere doing a puzzle, losing it over the latest arts and crafts, or hanging out with her kitties Hazelnutz & Pepper Ann.