British-American actor Peter Mayhew has died but his cause of death is unclear. According to TMZ, the actor best known for his portrayal of Chewbacca in the Star Wars franchise died of a “heart condition,” but further details weren’t made available.
The actor was just 74 years old when he passed away at his home in North Texas on April 30, surrounded by his family. Mayhew is survived by his wife, Angie, and his three kids.
“He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca, and 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. But to him, the Star Wars family meant so much more than a role in a film,” his family said in a statement on May 2.
You can see his family’s post below.
Mayhew is best known for portraying the Wookie Chewbacca in the Star Wars films. His family is planning a memorial service next month and will hold a public service for fans in Los Angeles in December.
Here’s what you need to know:
His Last Tweet Was on April 22 & He Hadn’t Shared any Recent News About His Health
Mayhew was fairly active on social media. His last tweet, which you can see above, was on April 22. In recent weeks, Mayhew hadn’t shared any information about his health.
Over the years, however, he has had some health-related issues. In 2013, for example, he underwent double knee-replacement surgery. Before the surgery, Mayhew had been using a wheelchair to get around. The surgery helped him a great deal and he was able to walk again after rehab.
In 2015, he was sidelined with a bout of pneumonia. At the time, TMZ reported that Mayhew had been hospitalized. His wife took to Reddit to assure fans that her husband would “make a full recovery.”
“He will make a full recovery, and hope to be discharged within a few days. Doctors are incredibly happy with his improvements,” she wrote.
He Underwent Spinal Surgery Last Summer
In July 2018, Mayhew underwent spinal surgery.
At the time, he took to social media to let his fans know why he’d not been posting as frequently.
“Sorry, I’ve been quiet as of late. I’ve been planning & going through some spinal surgery to improve my mobility. It’s been a success & I’ll be spending the upcoming weeks recovering,” the actor tweeted. “A big thank you to the doctors, staff, my family & friends that have helped me through this,” he added. You can see the original post above.
Further details about what specific kind of surgical procedures Mayhew had undergone have not been made available.