Star Wars actor Kenny Baker, the man who brought R2-D2 to life, has died

Contributed by
Aug 13, 2016, 1:32 PM EDT

The world — and a galaxy far, far away — have both lost a legend. 

Kenny Baker, best known as the actor who brought R2-D2 to life, has died at the age of 81. Baker, who stood 3 feet and 8 inches tall, played the iconic droid in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and the entire Star Wars prequel trilogy. Though it could obviously be done with CGI or animatronics now, Baker literally controlled the droid from inside the suit in the classic days of practical effects.

According to Baker’s family, he had been facing a decline in health the past several years.

“It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless,” his niece, Abigail Shield, told The Guardian. “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.”

Along with his iconic role in the Star Wars saga, Baker also had memorable turns in several other genre classics throughout the 1980s, including Flash Gordon, Time Bandits and The Elephant Man. His career is awesome on its own, but made even more remarkable by the fact that when he was born, doctors told him he would probably not survive into adulthood. But he proved them all wrong, and made some amazing films in the process.

Baker leaves behind an epic sci-fi legacy that will never be forgotten. R.I.P., and may the Force be with you.

(Via The Guardian)