By Devan Coggan
July 24, 2018 at 05:55 PM EDT
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew announced Tuesday that he recently underwent a successful spinal surgery to improve his mobility.

The 7-foot-3 Star Wars star revealed the news on Twitter, posting a photo from a hospital bed and writing, “Sorry, I’ve been quiet as of late. I’ve been planning & going through some spinal surgery to improve my mobility. It’s been a success & I’ll be spending the upcoming weeks recovering. A big thank you to the doctors, staff, my family & friends that have helped me through this.”

Mayhew added that because of the surgery, he will be rescheduling a planned appearance at the London Film & Comic Con. He also encouraged well-wishers to donate to his charitable foundation in lieu of gifts or flowers.

Mayhew, now 74, originated the role of the towering Wookiee in the original Star Wars trilogy, and he returned to the part in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith and 2015’s The Force Awakens. Finnish actor and former basketball player Joonas Suotamo has since taken over playing Chewbacca.

A number of fans and colleagues sent Mayhew well wishes on social media, including costar Mark Hamill and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

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