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Saturday 10 December 2016

Chewbacca star Peter Mayhew pays tribute to 'dear friend' Kenny Baker

Published 16/08/2016 | 14:46

Kenny Baker at the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Kenny Baker at the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew has paid an emotional tribute to his Star Wars co-star Kenny Baker, who died on Saturday at the age of 81.

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Baker, who was 3ft 8in, played the droid R2-D2 in the first six Star Wars films and was close friends with Mayhew.

Writing on his website, Mayhew said: "I know I'm a bit late with this, but my sadness is profoun d and no words seemed adequate to convey what we collectively and I personally have lost with the passing of my dear friend Kenny Baker."

The actor said he became fast friends with Baker the first time they met and formed a "lifelong bond".

Mayhew, who is 7ft 2in, added: " Although people liked to contrast the difference in our heights, we found we shared many of the same struggles, from finding clothes, driving cars, and fitting in airplane seats to health issues and the ever constant stares of strangers; we understood each other on a level that few others can."

Baker had been ill for a couple of years and Mayhew said he was glad he had spent time with his friend in London earlier this month.

He added; "His talent and his wicked sense of humour never diminished even as his health did.

"Ever the showman, Kenny was always eager to meet his fans. In the decades we knew each other, I never met anyone who enjoyed the public more.

"For all the joy he brought this world on screen and off I give my thanks, and a final farewell to my little friend with the giant heart who's gone to soon. Rest in Peace Kenny."

He accompanied his post with pictures of the two actors together, including one where Mayhew is wearing the bottom half of his Chewbacca costume and smoking a cigarette.

After Baker's death, a ctor Ewan McGregor, who appeared in three Star Wars movies, tweeted: "So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny."

20th Century Fox posted a photograph of C-3PO standing next to Baker's Star Wars character, and wrote: "Rest in peace, Kenny Baker, the heart and soul of R2D2."

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, also paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "Goodbye #KennyBaker A lifelong loyal friend-I loved his optimism & determination He WAS the droid I was looking for!"

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