As the face of one of the most iconic characters in cinema history, Mark Hamill has retained his popularity in the pop culture landscape over the decades. But apparently, with that acclaim also came a sense of responsibility that he “doesn’t take lightly.”
Back in the day, Luke Skywalker was a hero to almost everyone who watched the original Star Wars trilogy. It should come as little surprise, then, that as younger generations bask in the greatness that is the galaxy far, far away, they also find inspiration in the story of the farm boy who saved the galaxy from the evil of the Empire and redeemed his father.
That’s particularly true for children of all ages who battle terminal illnesses. Hamill, meanwhile, has made a habit of visiting hospitals as the Jedi Master Luke, passing messages of hope and encouraging them to fight on. Recently, an online user described the time when the actor came to visit his son, who was battling brain cancer. As Brad Simpson explained in his Twitter post:
“As my son Elijah was dying of pediatric brain cancer in 2017, @HamillHimself contributed to a birthday video Lucasfilm put together where several Star Wars actors wished him happy birthday for his ninth bday (April 22). Here is Elijah watching Mark Hamill. He died the next day.”
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As you’d expect, Hamill himself, who maintains an active presence on social media and communicates with fans regularly, was quick to notice the heartbreaking albeit touching message and replied in kind, writing:
“One look at Elijah’s beautiful face is all you need to know about why I’ve visited countless patients in children’s hospitals over the years. Emotionally harrowing to be sure, but I consider it both a privilege & a gift I’ve been given – a responsibility I’ll never take lightly.”
It’d be no overstatement to suggest that Luke has been the ultimate heroic figure of Star Wars since its conception in the 70s. But even beyond that, Mark Hamill has been an absolutely reliable and generous ambassador of what the character stands for in real life, and this story is just one example in a sea of instances where he really came through for fans and made the community proud.