'Star Wars' R2-D2 Actor Kenny Baker Dies at 83: Report
British actor Kenny Baker, who starred as one of science fiction’s most iconic robots, R2-D2, has died after battling a long illness, according to his niece. He was 83 years old.
The 3-foot-8-inch actor was found dead Saturday morning by one of his nephews at his home in northwest England, his niece Abigail Shield told the Guardian.
"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's said. "He did extremely well in his life. He was very ill for the last few years so we had been expecting it."
Baker and Shield's father, Ian, grew up in Birmingham. He became a household name in 1977 when he first played the role of R2-D2 in the first "Star Wars" film. He went on to appear with Anthony Daniels' C-3PO character in "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," as well as the three prequels.
"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 said.