George Lucas has praised Kenny Baker as the "heart and soul of R2-D2".

George Lucas

George Lucas

The 'Star Wars' actor passed away on Saturday (13.08.16) at the age of 81 and George Lucas, who created the franchise, paid tribute to Kenny in an emotional post on

He said: "Kenny Baker was a real gentleman as well as an incredible trooper who always worked hard under difficult circumstances. A talented vaudevillian who could always make everybody laugh, Kenny was truly the heart and soul of R2-D2 and will be missed by all his fans and everyone who knew him."

Kenny appeared in six 'Star Wars' movies and, along with portraying R2-D2, he also played Paploo, the Ewok who steals a speeder bike in 1983's 'Return of the Jedi'.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said: "We're all saddened to learn of Kenny's passing. There is no 'Star Wars' without R2-D2, and Kenny defined who R2-D2 was and is. He will be greatly missed."

Kenny was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease nine years ago and Drew Myerscough, his nephew and carer, also paid tribute to the late star.

According to the Daily Mirror, he said: "I've lost my best friend. My Uncle Kenny might only have been 3ft 8in but to me he was always 6ft tall.

"I went everywhere with him and when he had a gig, I looked after the sound.

"He did a turn at a nursing home about 15 years ago and on the way home in the car, he told me that going into a nursing home was his ultimate fear.

"I told him that as long as I had breath in my body I'd make sure that didn't happen.

"So when he got sick, I looked after him and he thanked me every day."

Kenny's wife Eileen, who also had dwarfism, died over 20 years ago and Kenny is survived by sons Christopher, 43, and Kevin, 41, who did not inherit the condition, and seven grandchildren.

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