Darth Vader is one of the most iconic villains in the history of movies. The tragic story of Anakin Skywalker’s turn to the dark side before eventually meeting his demise at the hands of Emperor Palpatine played out over six feature films. The three originals – A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. As well as three prequel movies – The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
Using canon sources and some dialogue from the movies themselves, we can work out exactly how old Anakin was when he died.
How old was Anakin Skywalker when he died?
Darth Vader was 45 years old when he died. This is based on the timeline of events starting in 41 BBY when Anakin was born, and ending in 4 ABY when Vader dies in Return of the Jedi.
Anakin Skywalker was born in 41 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) but was not discovered on Tatooine by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn until he was nine years old. Anakin was nineteen during the events of Attack of the Clones before eventually becoming Darth Vader just three years later in 19 BBY. The Death Star completed construction in year zero before ultimately being destroyed shortly after. Bringing us all the way to 4 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) when Darth Vader dies at 45 years old.
If he had somehow managed to survive, Anakin would have been seventy nine years old at the start of the sequel trilogy in The Force Awakens. Alas, fans were not lucky enough to see that come to fruition.
However, Darth Vader did return in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney Plus in 2022 and is also due to appear in the upcoming Ahsoka series.
How did Darth Vader die?
Darth Vader died in Star Wars Return of the Jedi as a result of severe damage to his suit. Vader’s suit is what allowed him to breathe by using a breathing apparatus connected to an air filter. The same apparatus responsible for the famous Darth Vader breathing sound.
The damage on his suit was caused by Force lightning at the hands of Emperor Palpatine after Anakin turned back to the light side of the Force. In the final moments before his death Anakin asked Luke to remove his helmet so that he could see his face for the first time.