In some sad news, longtime STARBURST favourite Kenny Baker has passed away at the age of 81.
Baker, best known for famously playing R2-D2 in the first six Star Wars films, had been suffering from longstanding health issues for several years, including problems with his lungs.
As well as playing the loveable R2 unit, the 3’8” actor is also fondly remembered for his roles in the likes of Flash Gordon, Time Bandits, The Goonies and Labyrinth.
Speaking to The Guardian, Baker’s niece Abigail Shield has paid tribute to her uncle, saying, “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. 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.”
Abigail added, “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. He did extremely well in his life. He was very ill for the last few years so we have been expecting it. He had been looked after by one of his nephews, who found him on Saturday morning. He had problems with his lungs and was often in a wheelchair. He was very poorly for a long time. He was asked to go out to LA for the new Star Wars premiere but he was told he was too ill to travel. Luckily he did manage to meet George Lucas again when he came to Manchester.”
The thoughts of all of us here at STARBURST go out to the family, friends and fans of Kenny Baker, a man who made a major impression in the life of many a genre fan.SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW OR ON TWITTER @STARBURST_MAG
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