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Renowned makeup effects artist Stuart Freeborn died Wednesday of natural causes in London at age 98.
Freeborn’s best known work was developing the characters of Yoda and Chewbacca for the Star Wars saga.
His other work includes the apes seen at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and his makeup work for the characters played by Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Both films were directed by Stanley Kubrick.
"He brought with him not only decades of experience, but boundless creative energy," Star Wars creator George Lucas said on the saga’s website. "His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His Star Wars creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations, but at their heart, they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films."
Freeborn began his career in the 1930s, and his final credited film was Max and Helen (1990).
"He was a really fun and imaginative individual. He gave you the feeling that if you wanted to achieve something, you should just get on and do it, and don't ever use excuses. He enjoyed life and the amazing world we live in,” his granddaughter Michelle said, according to NBC.