Actor Kenny Baker, Star Wars' R2-D2, dies: Report

Baker played R2-D2 (right) in the early Star Wars movies.
Baker played R2-D2 (right) in the early Star Wars movies.ST FILE PHOTO
Baker arrives for the European premiere of the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens in London in 2015.
Baker arrives for the European premiere of the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens in London in 2015.PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (AFP) - Kenny Baker, the British actor who starred as plucky robot R2-D2 in the Star Wars movies, died on Saturday (Aug 13) at the age of 83, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Baker, who measured 1m tall, had problems with his lungs and had been ill for some time, his niece Abigail Shield said.

"He brought lots of happiness to people and we'll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world," she said.

"We're all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime."

Baker played the resourceful droid known for his whistles and beeps in the original Star Wars movie in 1977 and in the five following movies.

He also received a credit in last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and attended the European premiere in London in December in a wheelchair.

However, Anthony Daniels, who played R2-D2's on-screen friend C3PO and with whom Baker had a frosty relationship dating back decades, said he was never actually on set.

The latest instalment of the franchise, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is due out in December.

Baker also starred in cult movies from the 1980s such as Time Bandits and Flash Gordon.