The man who built the original R2-D2 robot for Star Wars, Tony Dyson, has died at the age of 68 in his home of Gozo, Malta.
The Associated Press and local news The Times of Malta report that Dyson’s body was found on March 4, days after neighbors reported him missing. According to the local paper, an investigation is under way but no foul play is suspected. Dyson has lived in Malta since the early 1990s.
Dyson wrote on his personal website that he was working at the White Horse Toy Company when he was commissioned to build eight R2 units for George Lucas’s original 1977 movie. The order included four remote controlled versions and two for R2 actor Kenny Baker to sit in. Dyson and his studio also contributed to a number of other films, including Superman II and Moonraker.
But Dyson’s contribution to the Star Wars universe is undoubtedly his most widely recognized, the famous droid having endured throughout the decades since his original appearance in Star Wars. Having been a staple of the franchise since its beginning, R2 reappeared in the prequel trilogy of films and returned for a key role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.