Star Wars actor behind R2-D2 robot dies aged 81

August 13, 2016 2:26 PM EDT

Kenny Baker who plays R2 D2 arrives at the European Premiere of Star Wars, The Force Awakens in Leicester Square, London, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

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LONDON (Reuters) - British Star Wars actor Kenny Baker, who played the robot R2-D2 in six of the films, has died aged 81, Baker's niece told the BBC on Saturday.

Baker, who was three feet, eight inches tall, had suffered from a long illness, his relative said.

In addition to the first Star Wars film in 1977, he also appeared in Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and three prequel editions.

(Reporting by Sarah Young, editing by Larry King)

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