David Prowse, Darth Vader Actor of 'Star Wars' Trilogy, Dead at 85

David Prowse, an actor, best known for portraying Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died. According to the BBC, he reportedly passed away at the age of 85 following a short illness. Since the news emerged, many of those who have appeared in the Stars Wars universe have taken to social media to pay their respects to the actor who helped make the role of Darth Vader so iconic.

Prowse, a Bristol-born former bodybuilder, was originally cast in the role of Darth Vader for his imposing physique. However, the role was voiced by James Earl Jones. Even though he helped bring the iconic Darth Vader to life on the big screen, the role that Prowse was reportedly the proudest of was playing the Green Cross Code Man. That role, which involved him promoting road safety in the United Kingdom, earned him an MBE (a highly-esteemed order of the British Empire award). Prowse's agent, Thomas Bowington, released a statement upon the news of the actor's passing.

"May the force be with him, always!" Bowington began, echoing a classic phrase from the Star Wars films. "Though famous for playing many monsters - for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives." The agent continued to say that Prowse's death is "a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world." As previously mentioned, Prowse's co-stars from the Star Wars films have spoken out on the news of his passing. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, released a statement on Twitter in which he noted that he was "so sad" to hear that Prowse had passed away.

"He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader," Hamill wrote alongside a few photos of Prowse back in the day. "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." Anthony Daniels, a fellow Briton who portrayed C-3PO in 11 of the 12 Star Wars films, also paid tribute to Prowse on social media.

"More sad news. Dave has gone," Daniels wrote. "I don’t think 3PO ever faced Vader’s mighty presence on set, other than as a bag of bits on Chewie’s shoulders in the carbon freezer. But Dave’s iconic figure dominated the finished film in '77 and has done so ever since. And will continue to do so."