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Tony Dyson -- original 'Star Wars' R2-D2 builder -- dies

By Marilyn Malara
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Tony Dyson -- original 'Star Wars' R2-D2 builder -- dies
Tony Dyson, builder of the original "Star Wars" R2-D2, was found dead by police on the Maltese island of Gozo. He was 68 years old. Photo courtesy of TonyDyson.com

GOZO, Malta, March 4 (UPI) -- Tony Dyson, special effects developer, motivational speaker and original R2-D2 builder, has died at the age of 68.

Dyson's body was reportedly discovered by police on the Mediterranean island of Gozo after a neighbor called authorities over concern about an open door.

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Reports say Dyson is expected to have died from natural causes; an official cause of death is still being determined. No evidence of foul play has been reported.

Dyson built R2-D2 from conceptual plans brought forth by designers Ralph McQuarrie and John Stears for 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope. He also worked on films such as Superman 2, Moon Raker, Saturn 3 and Dragon Slayer. He was nominated for an Emmy for his special effects supervision in the 1980s.

A robot designer for Sony, Toshiba and Philips, to name a few, Dyson also worked as a motivational speaker who desired to inspire future robot designers and others.

Some of Dyson's lasting creations can be found on view in such museums as the Smithsonian and the Carnegie Mellon University Robot Hall of Fame.

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