Star Wars fans in galaxies near and far, far away are all looking skyward, as Kenny Baker — the actor who originated the role of R2D2 and portrayed the robot in the majority of the Star Wars films — has passed away at the age of 81.
Baker’s death following a long-term illness on August 13 was “expected, but it’s sad nonetheless,” his niece shared with The Guardian. News soon spread from England of the actor’s passing, and his former costars and colleagues took to social media to express their dismay.
Mark Hamill — Luke Skywalker himself — tweeted a fitting tribute: “He WAS the droid I was looking for!” Hamill and Baker, pictured above at the Oscars in 1978 alongside Anthony Daniels, who plays C-3PO, worked together on the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.
Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi’s younger self in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, which served as Baker’s final Star Wars appearance, tweeted his respects as well.
Rest in peace, Kenny. The bleeps, bloops, and very non-robotic personality you gave R2D2 brought generations of aspiring jedis so much joy.