So sad — a true legend in his own right has passed.
Kenny Baker shot to fame in 1977 when he played R2-D2 in the first Star Wars film, and he went on to play the character in a total of five more films in the series between then and 2005.
Now, news has come down that he has sadly passed away.
The 3′ 8″ actor — who also appeared in many much-loved films of the 1980s like The Elephant Man, Flash Gordon, and Time Bandits — was 81 years old.
According to his niece Abigail Shield, the passing was not particularly unexpected, as she told The Guardian:
“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.”
The British actor grew up in Birmingham, UK, and defied the odds his entire life in spite of his short stature and all the challenges he faced, according to Shields:
“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.”
Our thoughts are with Mr. Baker’s family, friends, and loved ones during this sad time.