Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew dies aged 74

Peter Mayhew.
Peter Mayhew. Photo credit: Getty

Peter Mayhew, the man inside the Chewbacca costume, has died.

The 2.18m-tall Star Wars veteran died on Tuesday with his family at his side, a statement on his official Twitter account said.

"Peter was the man behind the mask of Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, episode three of the prequels and the new trilogy," the statement read.

"He fought his way back from being wheelchair-bound to stand tall and portray Chewbacca once more in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He also consulted on The Last Jedi in an attempt to teach his successor.

"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."

Mayhew was not just an actor, but a huge fan of the franchise. His official Twitter account was @TheWookieRoars.

"Peter developed lifelong friendships with the other cast members and his fans while on the convention circuit, touching the lives of millions."

He is survived by wife Angie and three children, who are asking fans to donate to his charity - the Peter Mayhew Foundation - rather than send them flowers and gifts.

Castmate Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Princess Leia in the original and sequel trilogies, died in December 2016.