Tributes to much-loved Star Wars star Kenny Baker

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Tributes have poured in to Kenny Baker, the 3ft 8ins actor best known for his role as R2D2.

It was announced this afternoon that the actor, who for many years had lived in Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston, has died after a long illness at the age of 83.

Star Wars fans and Prestonians united in paying tribute to the star, who also had roles in Flash Gordon, Time Bandits, Amadeus, The Elephant Man and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.

Lancashire comedian Steve Royle said: “Very sad to hear my old friend Kenny Baker has passed away.

“A lovely man and I feel honoured to have shared a stage with him. RIP Kenny.”

Award-winning Mexian film director Guillermo del Toro said: “A great one - and, like Napoleon, his stature was measured not from head-to-ground but head-to-sky. A brilliant man.”

Actor Warwick Davis, star of Willow and Life’s Too Short, said: !Sad to say goodbye to a small man with a huge heart and personality.

“He paved the way for short actors of a generation.”

Warwick got his first break in acting thanks to Kenny. Davis was originally cast as an extra Ewok in return of the Jedi, but when Kenny, who was originally going to be Wicket, fell ill, George Lucas picked Davis to be the new Wicket after seeing how he carried himself as an Ewok

Former Evening Post reporter Neil Docking tweeted: “I had a great chat with him for the Evening Post. Cracked me up. RIP.”

R2D2 actor Kenny Baker poses with a light sabre for the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: A New Hope

R2D2 actor Kenny Baker poses with a light sabre for the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: A New Hope

While Melanie Disley added: “What a great character he was! RIP Kenny.”

Fan Phil Amsel posted: “RIP Kenny. You will be missed.”

Star Wars fans Consetta Parker said: “Thank you Kenny Baker for bringing so much joy to our hearts. Your inspiration will live on throughout the galaxy...”

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