British actor Kenny Baker who played our favorite droid, R2D2 in 6 Star Wars films, has passed away at the age of 83.
According to The Guardian, he had been battling illness for quite some time. In 1977, he starred as the droid character in Star Wars: A New Hope and later continued as the character with follow up installments in the series like The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. In his later years, Baker also starred in the prequels in the series between 1999 and 2005.
His niece, Abigail Shield told the Guardian about health issues her uncle encountered early on, saying, “When he was a child, he was told that he probably wouldn’t survive through puberty, being a little person in those times, they didn’t have a very good life expectancy. He did extremely well in his life. He was very ill for the last few years so we had been expecting it. He had been looked after by one of his nephews, who found him on Saturday morning.”
She continued, ““He had problems with his lungs and was often in a wheelchair. He was very poorly for a long time. He was asked to go out to L.A. for the new Star Wars premiere but he was told he was too ill to travel. Luckily he did manage to meet George Lucas again when he came to Manchester.”
“It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”
May the actor who brought us so much joy with a sassy droid rest in peace.