Rick May, the voice actor behind beloved video game characters such as Peppy Hare from Star Fox, has died after contracting the coronavirus. News broke of his death on April 13th, 2020, when his passing was announced by the art school, Rekindle, where he was a teacher.
According to the announcement, May suffered a stroke in February this year and was in rehabilitation at a nursing home in Seattle. While there, he contracted COVID-19 and was moved to the nearby Swedish Hospital for treatment where he passed on.
Before his illness, May taught at the independent educational school Rekindle located in Seattle, Washington and was previously the long-time artistic director of Renton Civic Theatre and Civic Light Opera, as well as a freelance actor and director for many decades.
While May was most well-known for his voice work on games like Star Fox (Peppy's iconic "Do a barrel roll!"), he also voiced Team Fortress 2's Solider, Sly 3's Dr. M, Age of Empires II's Genghis Khan, and more. In addition to his work in video games, May also performed in several theatrical roles, including Brutus in Julius Caesar, Benjamin Franklin in 1776, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, and many others, such as an award-winning one-man play titled, Bully!
John Lowrie, who voiced Team Fortress 2's Sniper, wrote a eulogy about May on Facebook and said, "Rick May was a force of nature, a pain in the ass sometimes but never to the point where I would not use him again and again. We were working friends, colleagues and buddies. Hopefully there will be those who will speak of his years in the theater, as a teacher, a director and voice talent, of his one-man show as Teddy Roosevelt. I knew the man who asked me if I could get him a copy of an old Republic Studios serial cliffhanger 'The Phantom Rider' if he got me an autograph from his friend Ty Hardin from the old 'Bronco' TV series."
His untimely death also sparked an outpouring of posts on social media commemorating his life and impact on the gaming industry as people remembered May's iconic work.
An entire server paying respects to Rick May. pic.twitter.com/rFy5xmLUlg
— DBlackjack21 (@DBlackjack21) April 13, 2020
— GoNintendoTweet (@GoNintendoTweet) April 13, 2020
he doesn’t need wings to fly.
rest in peace, Rick May 💔 pic.twitter.com/aLUc0dV8lf
— gillen vale (@kiku070) April 14, 2020