Star Wars cast tributes to Peter Mayhew aka Chewbacca

Jabba the Hutt Former Masterchef judge and future Star Wars spin-off

Jabba the Hutt Former Masterchef judge and future Star Wars spin-off

Yes, the fan-made holiday known as "Star Wars Day" may have derived from a silly pun-"May the Fourth be with you"-but it's sustained by the unparalleled (and occasionally unhealthy) enthusiasm and adoration Star Wars fans have for George Lucas' creation". Director George Lucas needed someone who was taller than Darth Vader - Mayhew, at 7 feet, was flawless for the role. In fact, the moment shared between them when Harrison Ford says, "Chewie, we're home", followed by a passionate Wookiee roar, brought tears to the eyes of many fans when the trailer debuted.

You may not recognise his face, but he played one of the most iconic film roles of all time - the actor Peter Mayhew has died at the age of 74.

At Star Wars Celebration last month, I was fortunate enough to have a run-in with Peter Mayhew in the lobby of my hotel. His co-star and on-screen sidekick Harrison Ford said simply: "I loved him". Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew started out together in 1977's A New Hope and they struck a bond immediately.

Following his passing, his Star Wars co-stars were quick to offer their condolences, with Ford - who played Han Solo, Chewbacca's friend and co-pilot, in the movie franchise - releasing a statement which read: "Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character".

"Peter was a wonderful man".

Hamill wrote: "He was the gentlest of giants-A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & a loyal friend who I loved dearly-I'm grateful for the memories we shared & I'm a better man for just having known him". He was the closest any human being could be to a Wookiee: big heart, gentle nature.and I learned to always let him win. Great new Star Wars gifts expand a robust collection of products that feature favorite characters and famous movie lines. Survived by three children and his partner, Angie, Mayhew was born in Surrey, England, but passed away in the Texan town of Boyd. "He was a good friend and I'm saddened by his passing", George Lucas said in a statement. "Rest easy, my friend". May the force be with you, always Mr. Mayhew.