69 year old actor AKA Chewbacca went under the knife in double-knee replacement surgery at Plaza Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas this week, his wife confirmed.
Peter has been in a wheelchair for the past two years – with occasional use of a cane, instead. However, he hopes to walk again after his surgery. Peter's wife Angie Mayhew also confirmed that Peter had a tendon-stretching procedure to stabilize his legs.
Peter played Chewbacca in three Star Wars films – Episode IV: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He was cast for the role since needed a tall actor and Peter was born with gigantism, which causes excessive growth. He measures 7 feet 3 inches tall and has previously said all he had to do to be cast in the role of Chewbacca was stand up!
Mayhew's family kept fans updated throughout the day over Twitter. "Uncle Peter just got taken back so they can start the surgery. We will keep you updated throughout the day. Thank you for your prayers!" his family tweeted.
The tweet everyone was hoping for followed:
"And he is DONE! Peter is out of surgery and in recovery. Now we begin therapy! I see a wookiee roaring in the future!" one relative tweeted.
The British-born actor's health issues will be the subject of an upcoming documentary, titled 'Standing in the Stars – The Peter Mayhew Story'. After playing Chewbacca in three Star Wars films, Mayhew began to play the role in adverts and to entertain sick children at hospitals (AW!).
Mayhew has previously explained that he created Chewbacca's movement by studying that of large animals at the zoo. Mayhew was a one-in-a-million Chewbacca – when he grew ill while The Empire Strikes Back, a stand-in of a similar height was used instead, but the actor couldn't match Mayhew's distinctive style of movement so the scenes had to be re-shot when he was better.
Send Chewie your get better soon messages below! If you'd like to donate to the Kickstarter campaign for the upcoming documentary about Peter, you can do that here.