Over the weekend, the Star Wars community mourned the loss of David Prowse, the actor who wore Darth Vader’s iconic suit in the original trilogy. News of his passing was met with an outpouring of tributes from fans as well as those lucky enough to act opposite him onscreen. But until today, the exact cause of his death was unknown. Via Deadline, Prowse’s daughter Rachel has revealed that her father died from complications related to COVID-19.
Rachel Prowse confirmed to British tabloid The Sun that her father, who was already struggling with Alzheimer’s, had been hospitalized with the virus for two weeks prior to his death. Unfortunately, the U.K.’s COVID-19 protocols kept his family from giving him a proper farewell.
“It’s horrible that Covid restrictions meant we did not get to see him and say goodbye,” said Prowse. “But when we went to collect his stuff from the hospital the nurse said what a cool guy he was. He was such a larger-than-life character. He would have loved to see himself trending on Twitter.”
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Additionally, Rachel Prowse confirmed that these restrictions are also keeping her family from holding “a big celebration of [her father’s] life.”
“We are not going to be able to do the send-off we would have wanted for him,” added Prowse.
Prowse’s death has also brought new awareness to his thorny relationship with the Star Wars franchise. Although he seemed to happily embrace the fandom surrounding his performance as Vader, Lucafilm wasn’t as crazy about it. In 2010, the studio banned Prowse from making appearances at any official Star Wars conventions. Regardless, he continued to visit other fan gatherings in the years before his passing. Filmmakers Marcos Cabota and Toni Bestard explored Prowse’s feud with Lucasfilm in their 2015 documentary, I Am Your Father.
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