Star Wars legend David Prowse died without saying goodbye to his family, his heartbroken daughter has revealed.
The 85-year-old, who played Darth Vader in the celebrated sci-fi movies, passed away on Saturday leading to an outpouring of tributes from fans and his fellow co-stars.
The 6ft 6in Bristol-born star was a former body-builder before playing the legendary villain, as well as becoming a road safety icon as the superhero, The The Green Cross Man.
His daughter Rachel, 50, has told The Sun that he died following two weeks in hospital. He had previously been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Tributes were led by Mark Hamill, 69, who played Luke Skywalker in the film franchise. He tweeted: “So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.
“Actor, Husband, Father, Member of the Order of the British Empire, three-time British Weightlifting Champion and Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man.
“He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”
David died on Saturday after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said in a Facebook post.
Speaking out about her father, Rachel said: “He might have looked quite scary but as a person he was a sweet, kind and generous man.
“He really was a gentle giant. And to us he was our dad.”
Rachel went on to say that she was heartbroken that she couldn’t say a proper goodbye because due to “Covid restrictions meant we did not get to see him.”
She said that the nurses “said what a cool guy he was” when collecting his belongings from the hospital.
Rachel added: “He was such a larger-than-life character. He would have loved to see himself trending on Twitter.”
David started his career as a bodybuilder, weightlifter and personal trainer, counting Superman star Christopher Reeve among his clients.
He portrayed Luke Skywalker’s ominous nemesis in the original trilogy Star Wars films, although the character’s voice was famously provided by US actor James Earl Jones.
The Bristolian was reportedly nicknamed ‘Darth Farmer’ by his late Star Wars co-star Carrie Fisher, because of his strong West Country accent.
His agent Thomas Bowington confirmed the sad news in a statement on Sunday morning.
“May the force be with him, always!” he wrote.
“Though famous for playing many monsters – for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives.”
He described the much loved actor’s passing as “a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world”.
Prowse was a familiar face on UK television for decades, with roles in Doctor Who in 1972, The Two Ronnies, The Kenneth Williams Show and The Morecambe & Wise Show.
In recent years he also starred in series Mission Backup Earth and Southern Troopers.
While one role that the British actor was most proud of, was playing the Green Cross Code Man – helping educate millions in the UK how to safely cross the street.
The star described the role as the “best job I ever had” – and he was awarded an MBE for his work in promoting road safety in 2000.
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