Professor Tony Dyson, the man who built the original R2-D2 has died aged 68.
He was found in his home on the Maltese island of Gozo after neighbours grew concerned after he had not been seen for a few days and called the police. A post-mortem is being carried out, and is expected to find that he died of natural causes.
Dyson was commissioned to create eight R2-D2 props for use in the film series, based on the concept created by Ralph McQuarrie. Four of these were remote control units, two manually controlled units with space for Kenny Baker to be seated inside, and a further two 'throwaway' units, such as the one thrown across the Dagobah swamp in The Empire Strikes Back.
He was also responsible for creating numerous robots for electronics firms such as Sony and Toshiba, along with props for other films, such as James Bond film Moonraker, Superman II, and the robot dragon used in Dragon Slayer.
Professor Dyson moved to Malta in the 1990s, and had been known to appear at island's comic conventions