Kenneth “Kenny” Baker, the actor who played R2-D2 in the cult classic ‘Star Wars’ films, has died at the age of 81. The British actor passed away in his Preston home on Saturday 13 August.
His nephew and carer, Drew Myerscough, released a statement to the press saying that Kenny had suffered years of breathing difficulties “which he had borne very bravely”. He said the affection of ‘Star Wars’ fans around the world “kept him going, without any doubt”.
The 3 foot 8 inch performer captured the hearts of millions of fans worldwide without showing his face or speaking any lines as the lovable droid. Baker also appeared in a number of other much loved films in the 1980s, including The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon.
Thousands of people took to social media to pay their respects to the actor, including Mark Hamill, the “Star Wars” series’ Luke Skywalker.
Hamill tweeted: “Goodbye #KennyBaker A lifelong loyal friend-I loved his optimism & determination. He WAS the droid I was looking for!” – an overt reference to a famous line from the first film.
His niece, Abigail Shield, also paid tribute to her uncle. In an interview with the Guardian, she stated: “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”.