British actor Dave Prowse, known for his role as the iconic Star Wars villain Darth Vader, has died, AFP reported quoting his agent Thomas Bowington on Sunday.

“It’s with great sadness that we have to announce that our client Dave Prowse… passed away yesterday morning at the age of 85,” he wrote on his Facebook page. 

“May the force be with him, always!” Bowington told the BBC. 

Bowington said that Prowse’s death was “a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world”. 

A former body-builder turned actor, Prowse’s towering stature at almost two metres (6.5 feet) clinched him the role of the instantly-recognisable antagonist in the original Star Wars trilogy.

However, the Bristol native’s strong western English accent caused the filmmakers to turn to James Earl Jones for the chilling voice that would emerge from behind the mask.

Prowse nevertheless remained attached to the character, telling AFP in 2013 that he was “the greatest big-screen villain of all time”.

Since the original Star Wars trilogy was released in the late 1970s and early 80s, Prowse had travelled the world meeting hardcore fans.