Darth Vader actor David Prowse died of COVID-19, daughter confirms

Star Wars actor David Prowse, the man in inside the Darth Vader suit in the original trilogy, was reportedly killed by COVID-19.

The 2m-tall former bodybuilder had been in hospital battling the disease for two weeks before he died, his daughter told UK paper The Sun.

"It's horrible that COVID restrictions meant we did not get to see him and say goodbye," said Rachel Prowse.

"But when we went to collect his stuff from the hospital the nurse said what a cool guy he was.

"He was such a larger-than-life character. He would have loved to see himself trending on Twitter."

Prowse, 85, was also suffering from Alzheimer's and arthritis. Older patients are more at risk of death from COVID-19 than younger.

"So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader," tweeted March Hamill, who played his on-screen son Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies.

In addition to Vader, Prowse also appeared in A Clockwork Orange, Doctor Who, Space: 1999 and 1967 Bond parody film Casino Royale - usually playing monsters and bad guys, due to his imposing physique.

"He might have looked quite scary but as a person he was a sweet, kind and generous man," Rachel told The Sun.

"He really was a gentle giant. And to us he was our dad."

Other stars who've lost their lives to COVID-19 this year include country folk singer-songwriter John Prine, The Goodies actor Tim Brooke-Taylor and Fountains of Wayne singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger.