By Amy Gunia
May 3, 2019

Hollywood actor Harrison Ford gave a heartfelt statement on his Star Wars co-star Peter Mayhew’s death on Thursday.

Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character,” Ford said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

The 7-foot-3 actor played Chewbacca, the loyal sidekick to Han Solo, who was played by Ford. The famous Wookiee, who starred in five Star Wars films, including the original trilogy, died at his Texas home on Tuesday at the age of 74.

Ford said the duo’s unique bond extended beyond the silver screen.

“We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience,” Ford said about his co-star, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Read More: ‘The Gentlest of Giants.’ Star Wars Actors Honor Late Chewbacca Star Peter Mayhew

The Han Solo actor credited Mayhew’s character for the popularity of the legendary science fiction film series.

“Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. He knew how important the fans of the franchise were to its continued success and he was devoted to them. I and millions of others will never forget Peter and what he gave us all,” Ford said.

Write to Amy Gunia at amy.gunia@time.com.

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