David Prowse, the British actor best known for his portrayal of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died at the age of 85. 

Prowse, who was the man behind Darth Vader’s armour in three Star Wars movies, passed away after a short illness.

While James Earl Jones was the voice of the iconic villain, Prowse was the physical actor who portrayed Darth Vader.

Along with his role in Star Wars, Prowse was a prolific character actor who appeared in TV and movie classics like Doctor Who, A Clockwork Orange and the James Bond franchise.

On top of his acting work, Prowse was also a champion bodybuilder and weightlifter.

Prowse’s death was announced in a statement on Twitter by his talent agency, Bowington Management.

“It’s with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and millions of fans around the world, to announce that our client David Prowse MBE has died at the age of 85,” the statement read.

Several other stars went on to pay tribute to Prowse, including Star Wars icon Mark Hamill.

“So sad to hear David Prowse has passed,” Hamill wrote on Twitter.

“He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader. Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him,” he concluded.

In a post on StarWars.com, creator George Lucas remembered Prowse as someone who was integral of the popularity of Darth Vader.

“David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character,” he said.

He continued: “He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence.”

“David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”

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