How Old Was Darth Vader When He Died & Who Killed Him?

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The story of Darth Vader is incredibly tragic because it allows us to see the downfall of a man that was once considered great but ended up becoming a pawn to another person’s ambitions. But he died at the height of his adulthood when he was already a shell of his former self. Nevertheless, he was able to redeem himself with one final heroic act. So, how old was Darth Vader when he died, and who killed him?

Darth Vader was just 45 years old when he died. He was born on 41 BBY and died on 4 ABY during the Battle of Endor. Darth Vader basically killed himself when he betrayed Emperor Palpatine to save Luke Skywalker. This led to his life-support suit getting damaged by Palpatine’s Force Lightning, leading to his death.

The life and death of Vader may be tragic, but it is a tale that tells the story of redemption in the highest way possible. In that regard, he may have died a sad man, but he died knowing that he saved his son and allowed him to live and become the hero he could never be. So, with that said, let’s look at how old Vader was when he died and how he was killed.

When did Darth Vader die?

There is no doubt that Darth Vader is the most iconic Star Wars character of all time and is the man that launched the entire Skywalker Saga in Star Wars because everything that happened in the main Star Wars movies can be traced back to him. Born as Anakin Skywalker, Vader fell to the dark side due to his obsession with keeping his beloved Padmé Amidala alive.

He failed in doing so, but he did have children in Luke and Leia, who were hidden from him. In that regard, Luke and Leia became the hope of the galaxy as they grew up to be rebels that opposed the rule of Emperor Palpatine and fought against Darth Vader’s oppression.

And while Luke couldn’t believe that he was the son of a tyrant, he eventually decided that he needed to redeem his father because he knew that the great Jedi Knight named Anakin Skywalker was still somewhere inside.

During the events of ‘Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,’ Luke Skywalker agreed to see Emperor Palpatine when Darth Vader asked him to do so. At the Battle of Endor, Luke went to Palpatine to oppose him, only for the emperor to tell Vader to kill his own son. This led to a duel between Vader and Luke, as the son was now more than ready to take on his father.

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Initially, Vader had the upper hand. However, after he tapped into Luke’s feelings to sense that he fears what could happen to his sister on Endor, Luke got angry and tapped into his own rage to find the strength to defeat Vader.

While his own darkness momentarily consumed him, Luke eventually realized that he had to spare his father even though the emperor told him to kill Vader and take his place as his new apprentice.


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An angry Palpatine used Force Lightning on Luke to kill him. Luke was defenseless because he tossed away his lightsaber to show that the emperor could not manipulate him into killing his father. But the lightning steadily killed him as he pleaded with his father to save him.

Eventually, Vader got up and carried Palpatine with what little strength he still had. He threw him down the shaft of the Death Star II, killing him in the process.

Tired and weary, Vader lay down on the floor and asked Luke to remove his helmet to see him with his own eyes. A redeemed Anakin Skywalker was a father in his final moments as he died right then and there.

This happened on 4 ABY. Anakin was born on 41 BBY. That would mean that Darth Vader was just 45 years old at his death. He became Vader on 19 BBY at the age of 22, meaning he was Darth Vader for more than half of his entire life.

How did Darth Vader die?

As mentioned, Luke Skywalker defeated Darth Vader in their final duel. The emperor told Luke to kill Vader so that he could take his place as his new apprentice. When Luke declined the offer, Palpatine blasted him with Force Lightning and was ready to kill him before Vader saved his son and threw Palpatine down the shaft.

While Vader was carrying the emperor, he was on the bad end of the full blast of Palpatine’s Force Lightning. Let’s not forget that Darth Vader is more of a cyborg already because he has to stay in his life-support suit to stay alive. This was because he received life-threatening injuries after losing his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar on 19 BBY.

That means that Palpatine always had the ultimate trump card against Vader throughout the years he was the emperor. He could always kill Vader using his Force Lightning, which was why Vader couldn’t overthrow him.

So, when Vader saved Luke, he got blasted by the lightning. This led to Palpatine damaging the electrical system in his life-support suit. On top of that, Palpatine’s attack was always strong enough to kill ordinary people. As such, Vader died due to the Force Lightning damaging his suit and his already battered and beaten body.

While Vader did indeed kill Palpatine, the act of killing him also led to his death. The emperor didn’t kill him directly, but Vader got damaged to the point that neither his suit nor his body could already sustain him. And that’s why he allowed Luke to remove his helmet and see him for what he truly was at the final moment of his life.

Where did Darth Vader die?

The climax of ‘Return of the Jedi’ took place on the Death Star II, which was an incomplete and bigger version of the original Death Star. Palpatine and Vader were both there to oversee its operations. However, Luke and the Rebels were also there to destroy the massive structure during the Battle of Endor.


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Luke and Vader fought their final duel on the Death Star II. Vader also threw the emperor down the shaft of the massive structure. As a result of that act, he also died in the Death Star II as Luke was able to salvage what remained of his suit and held a funeral for his father after the victory over the Empire.

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