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Peter Mayhew, the original Chewbacca, has passed away

Photo: randychiu / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 via MGN{ }

WASHINGTON (SBG) -- Peter Mayhew has died at the age of 74, according to his family.

In a statement released on Twitter, the family said "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."

Mayhew played Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, episode 3 of the prequels, and the new trilogy, according to a statement from his family.

"The Star Wars role meant so much more to him than a role in a film," the family said. "As the films released and became more well-known he had his eyes opened to the possibilities of what he could achieve with his role in the Star Wars universe."

Mayhew traveled around the world to meet with fans of his Star Wars character for more than 30 years.

The actor's family says he also established the Peter Mayhew Foundation to help families in a crisis situation. Most recently, Mayhew was involved with helping families in Venezuela who are in need of food and supplies during the country's ongoing power struggle.

Mayhew is survived by his wife and three children. His memorial service for friends and family will be held on June 29th. A memorial for fans will be set up in early December in Los Angeles. Family members are also expected to be in attendance for the fan memorial.

Instead of sending the family flowers or gifts, they've asked fans to donate to Mayhew's foundation.