Kenny Baker, the actor who brought R2-D2 to life in Star Wars, has died at the age of 83 after a battle with a long illness.
Baker, who was 3ft 8in tall, became a part of the Star Wars community when he first played R2-D2 back in 1977 in A New Hope. He continued the role in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, along with all three prequel films. While Star Wars was one of his most high-profile roles, Baker also starred in The Goonies, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon.
Abigail Shield, a niece of Baker, spoke with The Guardian and expressed her respect and love for Baker.
“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 elaborated, saying that he wasn’t supposed to live through puberty, but beat the odds.
“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.”
Shield explained that while Baker was too ill to attend the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Los Angeles, he was able to meet up with George Lucas once again when he came to Manchester.
Source: The Guardian