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Mark Hamill Leads Tributes to ‘Gentle Giant’ Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew

The Star Wars universe has led tributes to actor Peter Mayhew, who starred as Chewbacca in the original trilogy. Mayhew’s family confirmed Thursday night that the towering actor died at his home in Texas surrounded by his loved ones. Mark Hamill, aka Luke Skywalker, described Mayhew as “the gentlest of giants,” adding: “What was so remarkable about him was his spirit and his kindness and his gentleness was so close to what a Wookiee is. He just radiated happiness and warmth. He was always up for a laugh and we just hit it off immediately and stayed friends for over 40 years.” Harrison Ford, who starred as Hans Solo, said of his friend: “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.” Director George Lucas added: “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.”