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Kenny Baker - R2-D2 actor - dies aged 81

KENNY Baker, the 81-year-old British actor - who is best known for playing R2-D2 in the 'Star Wars' movies - passed away on Saturday after a long illness.

His niece Abigail Shield told The Guardian: "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.

"He had problems with his lungs and was often in a wheelchair. He was very poorly for a long time. He was asked to go out to LA for the new 'Star Wars' premiere but he was told he was too ill to travel. Luckily he did manage to meet George Lucas again when he came to Manchester."

The 3ft 8in actor was found dead by his nephew on Saturday morning.

Abigail added: "When he was a child, he was told that he probably wouldn't survive through puberty, being a little person in those times, they didn't have a very good life expectancy. He did extremely well in his life. He was very ill for the last few years so we had been expecting it. He had been looked after by one of his nephews, who found him on Saturday morning.

Kenny's wife Eileen passed away 20 years ago.

Along with 'Star Wars', Kenny also appeared in 'The Elephant Man', 'Time Bandits' and 'Flash Gordon'.


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