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    Star Wars Designer Ralph McQuarrie Dies at Age 82

    Ralph McQuarrie Drawings Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    Ralph McQuarrie, the conceptual designer behind Star Wars characters Darth Vader, R2-D2, C-3PO and Chewbacca, died Saturday at the age of 82 in his Berkeley, Calif. home. He is survived by his wife Joan.

    "There's no doubt in our hearts that centuries from now amazing spaceships will soar, future cities will rise and someone, somewhere will say ... that looks like something Ralph McQuarrie painted," reads a statement posted on McQuarrie's official website. 

    And how did Star Wars director George Lucas honor his colleague?

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    In a statement, Lucas said, "Ralph McQuarrie was the first person to help me envision Star Wars. His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy. When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph's fabulous illustrations and say, 'Do it like this.'"

    McQuarrie won an Academy Award for visual effects for his work on 1985's Cocoon. In addition to Star Wars, McQuarrie also worked on the original Battlestar Galactica TV show and the films E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

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