Peter Mayhew – who played Chewbacca in Star Wars – dies at 74

Peter Mayhew, who was best known for playing Chewbacca in Star Wars, has died at the age of 74.

The 7ft 3in actor starred as the iconic Wookiee in five Star Wars films.

Family members said in a statement posted to Mayhew's Twitter account that he died on Monday evening, in his North Texas home.

Mayhew played the iconic character from 1977 to 2015 – appearing in the original Star Wars trilogy, Episode 3 of the Prequels and the New Trilogy.

He was then forced to retire for health reasons.

In July last year, the 7ft 3in actor underwent major spinal surgery.

Fans were concerned about his health after he cancelled his appearance at the London Film and Comic Con in Olympia.

Peter spoke out to assure fans with a statement.

He said: “Sorry I’ve been quiet as of late. I’ve been planning and going through some spinal surgery to improve my mobility. It’s been a success and I’ll be spending the upcoming weeks recovering.”

Peter, from Barnes, Surrey, was born with Marfan syndrome – a connective tissue disease that caused his immense height.

He got a double knee replacement in 2013 and was forced to step down as Chewie in the last two Star Wars films – The Last Jedi and Solo – due to health concerns. But he was credited as a “Chewbacca Consultant”.

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