Kenny Baker, the British actor who portrayed R2D2 in the Star Wars films has passed away at the age of 81.
Baker who is 3 feet and 8 inches tall, wore the robot costume and appeared in all three of the original films, as well as the prequel series. He was meant to once again take on the role of R2D2 for the latest installment Star Wars: Force Awakens, but chose instead to be a consultant, actor Jimmy Vee then took the part.
He also appeared in other films which include, The Elephant Man, Amadeus, Mona Lisa, Labyrinth, and Willow.
Baker's niece, Abigail Shield told the Guardian that, “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.”
Shield also talked about his uncle's declining health. “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 LA 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," she said.
Baker was married to actress Eileen Baker whom he met on the set of Wombling Free. She passed away twenty years before he did, due to epilepsy. They had two children together.
Johnny Mans, Baker's agent and friend since the 1960s also paid tribute to the actor, "Kenny was truly a great friend, one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet, and a fabulous and talented performer. My wife and family will miss him terribly,” he said.