David Prowse, Original Darth Vader in 'Star Wars,' Dead at 85

English actor David Prowse (L), who played the character of Darth Vader (Dark Vador in French) in the first Star Wars trilogy poses with a fan dressed up in a Darth Vader costume during a Star Wars convention on April 27, 2013 in Cusset.

Prowse died after a short illness.

Rest in peace, David Prowse. The actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy has died. He was 85. 

In a statement to BBC, Prowse's agent, Thomas Bowington, said he died after a short illness. "Though famous for playing many monsters -- for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives," Bowington said, calling Prowse's death "a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world." 

Prowse, who made his film debut in the 1978 James Bond spoof Casino Royale as Frankenstein's Creature, played the character two more times, in 1970's Horror of Frankenstein and 1974's Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell.

The actor also also had roles on The Saint, Space 1999 and Doctor Who. Prowse was invited to audition for the roles of Darth Vader and Chewbacca in 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope after director George Lucas saw him playing a bodyguard in 1971's Clockwork Orange. He chose to play Vader, with James Earl Jones voicing the character. 

In a heartfelt note on Twitter on Sunday, Mark Hamill wrote, "So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader. Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him. #RIP." 

"Saddened to wake up to the news that my Twitter friend David Prowse passed away," William Shatner tweeted. "David, a literal giant among men, played many roles in his career. His most famous role was being the misunderstood father who tried to give the universe to his very disobedient twins.  #DarthVader." 

See more reactions to Prowse's death below.