RIP Peter Mayhew (1944-2019)

The man who gave the world Chewbacca has passed.

That's Peter Mayhew's official Twitter feed confirming the terrible news: several days ago, Mayhew - who gave life to one of the most iconic characters in film history - passed away in North Texas. He was 74 years old.

The heartfelt letter from his family, included above, lays out what you probably already know: across over half a dozen films, Peter Mayhew played Chewbacca, a role we're now due to see him portray one last time in December, in JJ Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker. For decades, Mayhew has quietly lived his life in north Texas, publishing the occasional kids' book (including Growing up Giant, which rallied kids around the idea that being different - in Mayhew's case, extremely tall - was a strength, not a weakness) and being an ongoing source of positivity for the Star Wars community in between appearing in new installments of the long-running sci-fi franchise. 

His loss is a tragic one. He will be terribly missed. RIP, sir.

(Note: header photo by randychiu, used w/ permission via Flickr)