The news was confirmed via a post from Mayhew's family via the actor's Twitter account:
The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away. He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. pic.twitter.com/YZ5VLyuK0u— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) May 2, 2019
As the family's statement points out, Mayhew fought his way back from life in a wheelchair to play the character one last time in The Force Awakens.
Mayhew was a fixture at comic conventions and also wrote the books Growing Up Giant and My Favorite Giant. In addition to Star Wars, he appeared as characters other than Chewbacca in Dark Towers and The Terror.
Mayhew is survived by his wife Angie and three children. A memorial service will take place on June 29.
Harrison Ford shared a statement about Mayhew with The Hollywood Reporter. It reads as follows:
Peter Mayhew was a kind and gentle man, possessed of great dignity and noble character. These aspects of his own personality, plus his wit and grace, he brought to Chewbacca. We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him. He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience. Chewbacca was an important part of the success of the films we made together. He knew how important the fans of the franchise were to its continued success and he was devoted to them. I and millions of others will never forget Peter and what he gave us all. My thoughts are with his dear wife Angie and his children. Rest easy, my dear friend.
Mark Hamill also remembered Mayhew with a tweet:
He was the gentlest of giants-A big man with an even bigger heart who never failed to make me smile & a loyal friend who I loved dearly-I'm grateful for the memories we shared & I'm a better man for just having known him. Thanks Pete #RIPPeterMayhew #Heartbroken @TheWookieeRoars pic.twitter.com/8xbq9HEWF2— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 2, 2019