R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker passes away

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The actor Kenny Baker, famous for playing droid R2-D2 in the original 6 Star Wars films has died, aged 81.

He passed away after a long illness.

Baker was most known for playing the minature droid, who formed the famous double act with cynical C-3PO, despite only speaking in beeps. He also had roles in Flash Gordon and Casualty, among others.

Baker had previously told Empire in 2002: “I know they know that I know that they don’t really need me”, when discussing the ability of CGI to phase out physical robot props. He added: “They could replace me for sure. But that’s the kind of guy George [Lucas] is – he’s a wonderful man who sticks by his colleagues.” Baker did not take on the role in The Force Awakens (Jimmy Vee instead played the astromech droid), but he was credited as an ‘R2-D2 consultant’ in the credits.

His niece confirmed the news, stating: “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.”

Watch a collection of R2-D2’s best moments below:

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