In an announcement on his Facebook page on Sunday, Cantwell’s partner, Sierra Dale, said he died Saturday at his home in Colorado.
A shot of the Death Star in “Return of the Jedi” (1983) credit: Lucasfilm / Fox / Kopal / Shutterstock
“Colin Cantwell died peacefully in his home and I am by his side. I will miss him deeply,” she wrote.
Cantwell is best known for designing and building prototypes of the X-Wing, Star Destroyer, TIE Fighter, Death Star, and other ships for “Star Wars: A New Hope,” the first in the science fiction series.
Cantwell’s website also noted that he was UCSD’s first animation graduate, after persuading the university to add an animation major.
A scene from “Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977) credit: Lucasfilm / Fox / Kopal / Shutterstock
Before Hollywood came into contact, he fulfilled his childhood passion for space by working for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and creating educational programs about recent developments in space exploration.
Beyond the “Star Wars” franchise, Cantwell’s big-screen contributions include special effects for “2001: A Space Odyssey,” technical dialogue for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and a computer graphics design consultant for “WarGames.”
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