Darth Vader is a tattooed 43-year-old former Marine who owns a gym and is raising funds online for a bone marrow transplant. But he is the former Eric Welch, of Canandaigua, NY, who says he grew up in foster homes and didn’t have strong family ties to his name.
The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester reports that a western New York man legally changed his name last year to match the villain in the Star Wars films.
The Star Wars fan says he chose Darth Vader for his new name because the character carries an aura of leadership and toughness.
He tests his own toughness by competing in half-marathons and endurance events. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002. A spokeswoman for the Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed that Darth Vader is his legal name.
This isn’t the first time someone has taken on the Star Wars-inspired moniker; a Ukrainian man with the same name (Darth Vader, of course) ran for mayor in Odessa, Ukraine under his own political party, called — wait for it — the Internet Party. His partner in politics was none other than Chewbacca, who was violently beaten and arrested while taking Ukrainian Darth to the polls in October 2015.
With files from The Associated Press