DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Over a pair of empty chairs at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention in Dallas hangs a sign with Peter Mayhew’s name and a picture of Chewbacca, the Star Wars character he made famous.
Before his death on Tuesday at the age of 74, Mayhew was scheduled to attend FAN EXPO Dallas to meet with fans and sign autographs.
Event organizers say they, along with the rest of the public, found out about Mayhew’s passing on Thursday, and are now planning a tribute to him during the expo.
“There is a feeling of shock among our team,” said Fan Expo Vice President Andrew Moyes.
A resident of North Texas, Mayhew was a regular at the Dallas event, ands fans loved him.
“Always a line for him and always a full panel as well. He was a great speaker, he was a great storyteller. And, of course, he created one of the most iconic characters in pop culture,” said Moyes.
Instead of getting Mayhew’s autograph, fans will be able to leave their own, along with personal messages, in a book that will be later be presented to the actor’s family.
“There’s a sadness but also a warmth when you look at the stories they’re sharing about the impact he had on their lives. It’s an incredible experience to meet your hero,” said Moyes. “And the fans would walk away feeling a couple inches taller because they felt inspired and honored to have met him.”
Mayhew’s most recent public appearance was less than three weeks ago at a Star Wars convention in Chicago.