Academy Award winner and the conceptual artist of the iconic "Star Wars" franchise, Ralph McQuarrie passed away on 3 March, at the age of 82. McQuarrie is credited with creating the look of Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3P0.

A statement on his official Web site reads:

"It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the passing of Ralph McQuarrie. People say you should never meet your heroes.

Ralph was the exception to that rule. We were all fans of his amazing art long before we were blessed with his friendship. But once you got to know Ralph it was impossible not to become a fan of Ralph the man.

Ralph was a very special person for many more reasons than his undeniable brilliance with a brush. He was an especially kind, sensitive, deep, modest, funny and fascinating gentleman. And as fine a role model as anyone could have wished for.

His influence on design will be felt forever. 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."

McQuarrie began his career as technical illustrator for Boeing. His big break came when George Lucas, the director of the "Star Wars" franchise, asked him to work with him.

A few of his other equally famous and ground-breaking films are "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Cocoon".

Twitter was filled with messages of condolences...

Perzik Harris-Dickinson: "We'll miss you Ralph....May the Force be with you."

Eli Kazehaya Cottyn: "Hope you find your peace now. :)"

Roger Weston: "You and you r talent will be missed. May your artwork live on forever."

Nigel O Brien: "R.I.P Ralph. Thank you for all the art from my childhood"