LONDON (AFP) - Dave Prowse, the British actor behind the menacing black mask of Star Wars villain Darth Vader, has died, his agent Thomas Bowington said on Sunday (Nov 29).
"It's with great sadness that we have to announce that our client Dave Prowse... passed away yesterday morning at the age of 85," Mr Bowington wrote on Facebook.
"May the force be with him, always!" the agent told the BBC.
Mr Bowington added that Prowse's death was "a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world".
A former bodybuilder-turned-actor, Prowse's towering stature at almost 2m clinched him the role of the instantly-recognisable antagonist in the original Star Wars trilogy (1977 to 1983).
But while he donned the glossy black armour and cape, the Bristol native's strong western English accent meant the filmmakers turned to actor James Earl Jones for the chilling voice that would emerge from behind the mask.
Prowse nevertheless remained attached to the character, telling AFP in 2013 that he was "the greatest big-screen villain of all time".
Since the release of the original Star Wars trilogy, Prowse had travelled the world meeting hardcore fans.