Kenny Baker, who was loved by millions for his portrayal of the spunky droid R2-D2, has died. The British performer had suffered from breathing problems.
The 81-year-old Baker was found dead in his home in northwest England on Saturday.
The actor's nephew, Drew Myerscough, told Sky News that Baker had suffered from respiratory problems for years. Myerscough said it was the affection of "Star Wars" fans that kept his uncle going in spite of his health problems.
Baker, who stood 3 feet, 8 inches (1.1 meter), shot to fame after playing the iconic trashcan-shaped droid R2-D2 in the 1977 original. Though the character had no lines and the performer's face was never seen, Baker went on to play the android in the next five films in the series.
Co-stars honor Baker's passing
Some of Baker's "Star Wars" co-stars took to Twitter to honor the late performer, including Mark Hamill, who played the heroic Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy, and Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels.
Born in Birmingham in 1934, Baker worked as a DJ and circus performer before entering the movie business. He also appeared in such films as "Time Bandits" and "Flash Gordon."
blc/rc (AFP, AP)