The death of Peter Mayhew is sending shockwaves across the world. The Chewbacca actor died at his home in Northern Texas, surrounded by his family at the age of 74 on April 30th. The family released a touching tribute to him, which went above and beyond his work in the Star Wars universe. Now, his friends, family, and former co-workers (who were often all the same), are reaching out on social media with tributes of their own.
One of the actors on the planet to have worked with Peter Mayhew maybe the most, is of course his Star Wars costar Mark Hamill. They appeared in 1977's A New Hope and shared a lot of laughs over the years and Hamill is deeply grateful for the time they were able to spend together. Hamill posted a tribute to his friend on social media. Mark Hamill had this to say about being able to work with Mayhew after all of these years.
"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. Thanks Pete"
Joonas Suotamo took over as Chewbacca for Peter Mayhew while doing the stunt work on 2015's The Force Awakens. Mayhew had recently undergone double knee replacement surgery and was not up to the task of taking on the entire role since he was mostly in a wheelchair by that point. However, he made it a point to help out Suotamo in any way that he could, even coming on as a consultant on The Last Jedi. Suotamo had this to say about the late great Peter Mayhew when he took on the role.
"Peter's guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love."
Peter Mayhew never took his Star Wars fame for granted and he often tried to help anybody he could who needed it, which is why he started the Peter Mayhew Foundation. But when it came time to playing Chewie on the big screen, he really gave it his all. He never expected to be a world-famous actor, but he ended up being one anyway. You can read what Mayhew's family had to say about his work below.
"He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca. It showed in every frame of the films from his knock kneed running, firing his bowcaster from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth."
When Peter Mayhew originally met Joonas Suotamo, he joked that the young actor was too skinny to take on the role. Even though he could barely stand, Mayhew made it his mission to pass on everything he knew about playing the iconic Wookie on the big screen and Suotamo and millions of Star Wars Chewbacca fans from all over the world are grateful for his hard work and determination over the years. You can read some more tributes to Peter Mayhew below.
The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away. He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. pic.twitter.com/YZ5VLyuK0u— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) May 2, 2019
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. Thanks Pete #RIPPeterMayhew#Heartbroken@TheWookieeRoarspic.twitter.com/8xbq9HEWF2— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 2, 2019
R.I.P 😔 pic.twitter.com/FWRgaOS0Tf— Joonas Suotamo (@JoonasSuotamo) May 2, 2019
We’ve lost a friend and #StarWars legend. The mighty #PeterMayhew brought such warmth, humour and humility to the beloved character of #Chewbacca. His personal wit and charm will be missed by Star Wars fans across the galaxy too. #RIPPeterMayhewpic.twitter.com/dm6Sd6oNPS— Warwick Davis (@WarwickADavis) May 3, 2019
💔I am so sorry to hear about Peter. We had so many fun and memorable tweets back and forth over the years plus seeing each other at a convention here and there. My deepest condolences to his family. He will be sorely missed! 😢 https://t.co/R3lAEvkQJc— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) May 2, 2019
A sad day for millions of fans. https://t.co/qRfFWOd4ck— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) May 2, 2019
San Diego @Comic_Con was my 2nd event in the US many years with both Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker. We had laughs and fun meeting everyone. Memories I will have forever. May the Force be with both of them always! https://t.co/JUKNvVTAyt— Daniel Logan (@Daniel_Logan) May 2, 2019
He loved the bantering back and forth about the fandoms. So glad I was able to be a part of some of them. He will be missed... but never forgotten. https://t.co/ttGJ5riTzp— Daniel Logan (@Daniel_Logan) May 2, 2019
He was a lovely person. He will be missed. https://t.co/W6LB7nJV4x— Daniel Logan (@Daniel_Logan) May 2, 2019
We have lost a beloved member of the Star Wars family. My heart is breaking. I am so grateful I knew Peter & could call him a friend. He was a mentor, a friend & a family member. Peter is now one with the Force. Lovely man who loved all his fans. RIP my friend. We all love you! https://t.co/YkWD23Vogw— Daniel Logan (@Daniel_Logan) May 2, 2019
Thank you for everything, Peter Mayhew. pic.twitter.com/wioRy5qhfe— Amy Ratcliffe (@amy_geek) May 2, 2019
A short Chewbacca story: A few years ago, I got to visit Pinewood Studios, where they shoot Star Wars. In the Warbrobe Department, there was a small room where they kept the Chewie costumes. When I saw him, I couldn’t help myself. Something came over me.— Noah Segan (@kidblue) May 2, 2019
Sad to hear of the passing of Peter Mayhew, a giant in stature and kindness. He was deeply committed to many charitable causes. His gentle soul will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. pic.twitter.com/4pP2xAb0kd— Robert Picardo (@RobertPicardo) May 2, 2019
We had the honor of meeting Peter Mayhew at Star Wars Celebration last month. Today we thank him for making Star Wars feel like home for many fans. Rest in peace, Mr. Mayhew. pic.twitter.com/dpCDbaCR0c— Funko (@OriginalFunko) May 2, 2019
We are saddened to learn of the passing of actor Peter Mayhew, most famous for his portrayal of Chewbacca.— RiffTrax (@RiffTrax) May 2, 2019
Our deepest condolences to the Mayhew family. pic.twitter.com/WVEsepFtcn
RIP Peter Mayhew. You were an adorable, sweet man & I’m very sorry the only time we crossed paths was when I nearly gave you a nudge with my car.— AJ LoCascio 💜🧡 (@AJLoCascio) May 2, 2019
Peter Mayhew. A truly beautiful, gentle, lovely man. Sending huge love to Angie & their family. @TheWookieeRoars Heartbreaking. A huge loss.— Chase Masterson (@ChaseMasterson) May 2, 2019
We love you, Peter. Godspeed & peace in your next galaxies. 💔
The saddest GIF you'll see today.— Patrick Williams (@PatrickWilliams) May 2, 2019
R.I.P. Peter Mayhew pic.twitter.com/dzgLDGBSwz
My favorite picture of Peter Mayhew and Carrie Fisher pic.twitter.com/VzDaLY2aWy— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) May 2, 2019
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Mayhew. He was our beloved companion in a galaxy far, far, away. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and fans. The force will be with you always, Peter.— San Diego Comic-Con (@Comic_Con) May 2, 2019
God Bless Peter Mayhew pic.twitter.com/tm5N3vw1Op— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) May 2, 2019
RIP Peter Mayhew. pic.twitter.com/0w7MIFx8YY— Fangoria (@FANGORIA) May 2, 2019
Losing Peter Mayhew is like losing a family member. Not only was he amazing as Chewbacca, but to Star Wars fans he was always the kindest, most wonderful person imaginable. I'm truly heartbroken. pic.twitter.com/vENnTtY8PA— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) May 2, 2019
I hope these 2 are having an amazing catch-up. RIP Peter Mayhew. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/s6zKIZ3dh9— Allie Mac Kay (@alliemackay) May 2, 2019
R.I.P. Peter Mayhew, who is perhaps better known as CHEWBACCA. What a man. What a wookie.— Jeff Sneider (@TheInSneider) May 2, 2019
I saw #PeterMayhew often at comic cons, because he lived in North Texas with his wife Angie. He was always generous with his time, especially to kids wowed by the fact HE was Chewbacca.— Robert Wilonsky (@RobertWilonsky) May 2, 2019
The photo is from Arlington in 2015, when he became a U.S. citizen.https://t.co/ZPVHjV6IO1pic.twitter.com/GzZPNDrGJq
Terribly saddened to learn of Peter Mayhew’s passing, a true professional inside and out, not to mention extremely funny, say hello to Carrie for me, goodbye my friend 💔 pic.twitter.com/8zO5J7l1W9— Lynda Olanoff (@LynnOlanoff) May 2, 2019