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Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz dead at 78

The Star Wars producer also worked on American Graffiti and The Dark Crystal over his career.

Star Wars Producer Gary Kurtz

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Producer Gary Kurtz, seen here in this 2007 photo, passed away at age 78.

Getty Images

Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz, known for his work on the original 1977 movie and 1980's The Empire Strikes Back, passed away Sunday at age 78.

Kurtz's family issued a Monday statement announcing that he died from cancer, according to Star Wars news website Fantha Tracks, and the official Star Wars website posted an announcement Monday as well.

"Well-known for his work as the producer of American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Dark Crystal, Gary was passionate about telling stories that shared the humanity of characters in entertaining ways for audiences around the world," reads the family statement.

Original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew posted a remembrance to Kurtz on Monday, saying that "without him, there would have been no 'force'."

Lucasfilm noted in its statement that Kurtz would be missed both for his contributions to Star Wars and to other movies he worked on.

"A key figure in the history of Star Wars and Lucasfilm, Kurtz's gifts for storytelling can be felt in all his work," Lucasfilm wrote Monday.

Daniel Logan, who played a younger Boba Fett in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, noted that Kurtz was full of stories.

Kurtz's family members left behind include Clare Gabriel, Tiffany Kurtz, Melissa Kurtz and Dylan Kurtz, reports

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