12:50pm PT by Hilary Lewis
George Lucas, Mark Hamill and Ewan McGregor Remember Kenny Baker
Star Wars fans and those who have worked on the franchise took to social media on Saturday to pay tribute to Kenny Baker, the actor behind R2-D2, who died at the age of 81 after a long illness.
Mark Hamill, Ewan McGregor and Rogue One writer Gary Whitta all posted about Baker's death. Hamill alluded to a famous Star Wars line when he said of Luke Skywalker's robot pal, "He WAS the droid I was looking for!" McGregor, who played a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels, which also featured Baker, said of his co-star, "So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny."
In a statement posted on Starwars.com, Star Wars creator George Lucas remembered the actor.
"Kenny Baker was a real gentleman as well as an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances," said Lucas. "A talented vaudevillian who could always make everybody laugh, Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2 and will be missed by all his fans and everyone who knew him."
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy also mourned the star.
"We’re all saddened to learn of Kenny’s passing," Kennedy said in a statement on Starwars.com. "There is no Star Wars without R2-D2, and Kenny defined who R2-D2 was and is. He will be greatly missed."
Meanwhile, Whitta said Baker was part of his childhood inspiration.
"When I was a kid nothing inspired me more than Star Wars and Time Bandits," he wrote on Twitter. "Kenny Baker was a big part of both. Alas."
Morgan Fairchild, who appeared with Baker in the 1987 film Sleeping Beauty, said of her co-star, "Hate to hear this…lovely man, lovely soul."
JJ Abrams' frequent composer Michael Giacchino, Edgar Wright and Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings also paid tribute to Baker, as did the social media accounts for the Regal movie theater chain and 20th Century Fox, which released the first six Star Wars films.
See what Hollywood is saying about Baker below.
A photo posted by Michael Giacchino (@m_giacchino) on
Rest in peace, Kenny Baker, the heart and soul of R2-D2. pic.twitter.com/NqOpxotxyK— 20th Century Fox (@20thcenturyfox) August 13, 2016
RIP R2D2. Farewell Fidget, Time Bandit. Goodbye Mister Kenny Baker. pic.twitter.com/wuiQuCH7g6— edgarwright (@edgarwright) August 13, 2016
My faith reassures me that God will raise up Kenny Baker to eternal life, just as He does at the end of Time Bandits pic.twitter.com/T9X7SAMgXU— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) August 13, 2016
Kenny Baker, actor behind R2-D2, dies https://t.co/SmMSCOQfCo Hate to hear this. I worked w Kenny on Sleeping Beauty-lovely man-lovely soul— Morgan Fairchild (@morgfair) August 13, 2016
God bless Kenny Baker.— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) August 13, 2016
When I was a kid nothing inspired me more than Star Wars and Time Bandits. Kenny Baker was a big part of both. Alas. https://t.co/NNh8vjU1NN— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) August 13, 2016
RIP Kenny Baker best known as R2D2 in the Star Wars movies. Loved him in Time Bandits. pic.twitter.com/ACMCIPd8Jv— Jonathan Sothcott (@sothcott) August 13, 2016
So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny. Kenny Baker, Star Wars R2-D2 actor, dies aged 81 https://t.co/9HW6f3MWZl— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) August 13, 2016
Saddened to learn of the passing of Kenny Baker.— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) August 13, 2016