The daughter of Star Wars actor David Prowse has thanked fans for their "incredibly touching" messages of support, following his death on Saturday. He was 85.
"Dad would have been over the moon about the reaction he has had today," Rachel Prowse posted on her Twitter feed, Sunday.
"Me and the rest of the family have been overwhelmed by the lovely comments and the sharing of some hilarious memories. Thanks twitter for brightening a difficult day #mtfbwy #DaveProwse"
In a longer post on her Facebook page, Rachel also confirmed that her dad had passed away after a short illness, without detailing the exact cause. The sad news had been initially announced by the English actor's agent, Thomas Bowington.
"Thank you so much to everyone that has reached out and sent their love and best wishes to me, my mum and my brothers, it means more than you know," Rachel posted on Sunday. "I will get round to replying to you.
"As a family we were very used to sharing my dad with others across the world and now that he has gone it is incredibly touching to see and hear about the impact he had on so many people.
"He had a huge physical presence which helped him achieve as much as he did," she continued. "He had the biggest hands and feet I have ever seen! Dad had a broad fan base from many different areas of his life and work, he will be missed by many."
Prowse played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy after initially being offered the choice between donning the iconic black mask of the Jedi's evil nemesis and the more cuddly costume of Chewbacca.
The bodybuilder-turned-actor, who received an MBE for playing the Green Cross Code Man in an iconic 1970s UK road safety campaign, also appeared in the Stanley Kubrick classic A Clockwork Orange, and a number of classic Hammer horror films.
In 2014 he announced that he had dementia and had also battled prostate cancer, according to The Washington Post.
"He'd had a fabulous life, traveled all over the world doing things that he loved especially meeting fans at conventions and signing thousands and thousands of autographs over the years," Rachel added in her Facebook post.
"He would be relishing having appeared on BBC news this morning and be trending on Twitter (once it had been explained what this meant).
"For those of us that grew up in the 70's and 80's he will be best remembered as being the Green Cross Code Man and also for being Darth Vader, the most evil villain in cinematic history; to me he will always just be dad."
Star Wars actors Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams were just some of Prowse's co-stars to pay tribute to the man behind Vader's mask.
"So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader," Hamill wrote on Twitter. "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. #RIP."
Williams, shared a statement on Instagram and Twitter, writing, "Incredibly sad to hear David Prowse has passed. It was a great gift to work with him and an honor to call him my friend."
Joe Manganiello also touched on Prowse's iconic role in the villainous black mask and helmet of Darth Vader, which he famously wore on set while James Earl Jones voiced Vader's iconic lines.
"David Prowse as Darth Vader was BRILLIANT. He was so unbelievably magical in that suit. I’ve watched Empire so many times with the sound off just to watch how he moved. His physical choices were as iconic as James’ voice to me & aside from all of that he was such a nice man. RIP," Manganiello wrote.
Touchingly, The Lord of The Rings star Elijah Wood and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas were among many to share the ultimate Star Wars epitaph: "May the force be with you."
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