5:35pm PT by Ryan Parker, Trilby Beresford
Harrison Ford Remembers 'Star Wars' Co-Star Peter Mayhew: "I Loved Him"
Harrison Ford, like the rest of the Star Wars fans across the globe, was devastated when he learned on Thursday that his friend and Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew had died at the age of 74.
The two men made up the iconic duo of Han Solo and Chewbacca, which they played together in four films since 1977.
Ford said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that he loved his dear friend.
"Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character," said the actor. "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."
Continued Ford, "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…. "
The two men first worked together in 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope and again in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Return of the Jedi. They would play their iconic roles one final time in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Ford as the character Han Solo is just as legendary as Mayhew playing his Millennium Falcon co-pilot and fellow smugger, Chewbacca.
Mayhew once said he got the part just by director George Lucas seeing him and being baffled by his 7-foot-2 stature.
Following the news of Mayhew's death, other Hollywood stars, including Patton Oswalt and Elijah Wood, took to social media to express their condolences.