Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, George Lucas and More Remember Peter Mayhew

George Takei, Patton Oswalt and Billy Dee Williams also paid tribute to the 'Star Wars' actor, who died Tuesday at the age of 74.
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Peter Mayhew

Several Hollywood stars got emotional when they learned of Peter Mayhew's death on Thursday and took to social media to pay tribute to the late actor. Mayhew, known for playing Chewbacca in Star Wars films over a period spanning decades, died Tuesday in his North Texas home with family by his side. His official Twitter account confirmed the news. The actor was 74.

The London native was best known for his iconic performance as Chewbacca in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), Revenge of the Sith (2005) and The Force Awakens (2015). 

Prior to starring as the iconic Chewbacca character, Mayhew worked as a hospital orderly. With George Lucas hoping to find someone taller than Darth Vader, Mayhew got the role based on his physique (in his prime, Mayhew stood 7-foot-3).

While Mayhew did not provide the voice of the 200-year-old Wookiee (created by sound designer Ben Burtt), fans credit the actor's body language and expressive eyes with making Chewbacca a popular character. He reprised his infamous Star Wars role for appearances on Donny & Marie and The Muppet Show and, more recently, Glee.

In a statement, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy remembered Mayhew for his "kind and gentle nature": "We are deeply saddened today by the news of Peter Mayhew’s passing. Since 1976, Peter’s iconic portrayal of the loyal, lovable Chewbacca has been absolutely integral to the character’s success, and to the Star Wars saga itself. When I first met Peter during The Force Awakens, I was immediately impressed by his kind and gentle nature. Peter was brilliantly able to express his personality through his skillful use of gesture, posture, and eyes. We all love Chewie, and have Peter to thank for that enduring memory.”

Harrison Ford also expressed his condolences in a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter: "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 it’s 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." 

Meanwhile, Lucas said of Mayhew's passing: "Peter was a wonderful man. He was the closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature…and I learned to always let him win. He was a good friend and I’m saddened by his passing."

After news broke of Mayhew's death, Hollywood stars took to social media to express their condolences for the late actor. Read their reactions below.