Sad day in the galaxy as Star Wars actor Kenny Baker who gave R2-D2 life has passed away at the age of 81. Baker played R2-D2 for 6 Star Wars films, plus he had roles in Flash Gordon, Labyrinth, Time Bandits and other various roles. May the Force Be With You, Kenny Baker. Always.
The Guardian first reported the news of Baker’s death, quoting a statement from his niece, who said he died after a long illness.
The niece, Abigail Shield, told The Guardian of her uncle’s death, “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.”
“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,” Shield said of the actor, who grew to 3 feet, 8 inches tall. “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.”
Shield explained that Baker met his wife Eileen after an appearance on the Michael Parkinson TV show. She wrote in, saying she was also a little person and wanted to meet him. “They got married soon after,” Shield said, adding that Eileen died of epilepsy about 20 years ago.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) August 13, 2016