British actor Kenny Baker, who played the loveable and sassy droid R2-D2 in the “Star Wars” saga, has died, according to multiple reports. He was 83.
Baker had battled a long illness, according to The Guardian newspaper in Great Britain.
“It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless,” Baker’s niece, Abigail Shield, told the newspaper. “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.
“He had problems with his lungs and was often in a wheelchair,” Shield said.
The 3-foot, 8-inch tall actor first played the robot in George Lucas’ first “Star Wars” film in 1977. Baker continued to play the droid with attitude in two sequels and three prequels.
He also had roles in other 1980s sci-fi films such as “Time Bandits” and “Flash Gordon.”