Darth Vader actor retiring from public

David Prowse Darth Vader

American actor David Prowse (Darth Vader) during the presentation of the film 'I Am Your Father' at Verdi Cinemas in Madrid, Spain on November 18, 2015.. Photo By Borja B HojasMAlter Photos/ABACAPRESS.COM

The man behind the mask of Star Wars villain Darth Vadar, David Prowse, has dementia and won't be making any more public appearances.

The British actor, 72, announced the decision in a post on his Twitter account on Thursday.

"Beginning in January 2018, Dave will no longer be doing any personal appearances or conventions due to health problems."

Prowse portrayed Luke Skywalker's ominous nemesis in the original trilogy of the sci-fi films, although the character's voice was famously provided by US actor James Earl Jones.

Proswe was reportedly nicknamed Darth Farmer by his late Star Wars co-star Carrie Fisher, because of his strong West Country accent.

In 2014 it was reported that Prowse had been diagnosed with dementia, and he said in an interview with the Daily Mirror that "there's nothing you can do".

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