The “Star Wars” community is grieving the death of a longtime actor. Creator George Lucas and several stars from the franchise are publically mourning R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker. They’ve shared messages about the Brit, who died Saturday, on social media.
Lucas used the official Star Wars website to express his sorrow. “Kenny Baker was a real gentleman as well as an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances,” he said. “A talented vaudevillian who could always make everybody laugh, Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2 and will be missed by all his fans and everyone who knew him.”
Baker died after dealing with an unspecified illness, the Guardian reports. He’d been working as an actor since the 1960s, but his most famous role was as R2-D2. He was inside the droid for the first six “Star Wars” films. In addition, he also played Paploo, an Ewok who steals a bike in “Return of the Jedi.” Though he wasn’t in “The Force Awakens,” he is credited as a “R2 Consultant.”
After spending so many years working on the films, it’s not surprising that actors from all of the films have come forward to say a few kind words about him. Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and more shared tributes on social media. Several “Star Wars” alums who didn’t get the chance to work with him, like “Rogue One” screenwriter Chris Weitz, also shared their condolences. Even Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), who was had a well-documented feud with Baker, paid his respects.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) August 13, 2016
So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny. Kenny Baker, Star Wars R2-D2 actor, dies aged 81 https://t.co/9HW6f3MWZl
— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) August 13, 2016
Sad to hear of Kenny’s passing.1 of the truly original cast, so famed for his iconic role as R2. He'll always be remembered by so many fans.
— Anthony Daniels (@ADaniels3PO) August 14, 2016
— Gwendoline Christie (@lovegwendoline) August 14, 2016
— DARTH VADER (@isDARTHVADER) August 13, 2016
So sad to hear one of my dearest friends passed away. Rest in peace Kenny Baker. Love you. Will miss you! pic.twitter.com/FosdwNysGk
— Daniel Logan (@Daniel_Logan) August 13, 2016
— Warwick Davis (@WarwickADavis) August 13, 2016
RIP ‘Star Wars’ Kenny Baker. So sad. https://t.co/RAbQN5vnoP
— Greg Grunberg (@greggrunberg) August 13, 2016
RIP Kenny Baker. You made my childhood better.
— Chris Weitz (@chrisweitz) August 13, 2016
Baker was predeceased by his wife, Eileen. Their two children survive them. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.