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Kenny Baker, the 'Star Wars' actor who played R2-D2, has died

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The British actor behind the beloved "Star Wars" droid, R2-D2, has died.

Kenny Baker had been sick with a lung condition for years, a relative tells CNN.

Then Saturday, the 81-year-old man was found dead. He passed away peacefully in his sleep, the source adds.

Baker was a small man – he was 3-foot-8, Rolling Stone reports.

Because of his size, he was not expected to live past puberty, Baker's niece tells the Guardian.

But he beat the odds and went into circus performing as a teenager.

Later on, Baker got offered the role of R2-D2.

BBC says Baker initially turned down the offer, saying he didn't want to "be stuck in a robot."

But George Lucas – who created the films – eventually convinced Baker, saying he was the only person small enough to fit in the robot and strong enough to move it.

"I got into it and they put the lid on me like a boiled egg," Baker said in an interview on his website.

His bio says he went on to "perform in all six 'Star Wars' films as well as documentaries relating to them."

And in 1978, Baker – as R2-D2 – put his "footprints" in cement outside the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

Many are honoring Baker on social media.

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