Kenny Baker, Who Portrayed R2-D2 in ‘Star Wars’ Films, Dead at 81

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What a terrible loss for Star Wars fans.

Kenny Baker, the man who portrayed R2-D2 in the Star Wars films, died on Saturday (Aug. 13, 2016) in his England home after a long illness. He was 81. His niece, Abigail Shield, confirmed his death to The Guardian.

“It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless,” she told the newspaper following his death. “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.”

The British actor, who was just 3 feet 8 inches tall due to a form of dwarfism, shot to fame in 1977 when he first played the robot character. He was in all three original films and the three prequels, but was in a wheelchair by the time The Force Awakens was released.

Star Wars alumni Mark Hamill and Ewan McGregor, as well as other celebrities, took to Twitter to pay their respects to the iconic actor.