Little Vader, the 7-year-old boy who played a younger version of the popular Star Wars villain, is to undergo open heart surgery to repair a hole in the organ.
Little Vader starred in the widely viewed 2011 Superbowl ad for Volkswagen, in which a small boy in a Darth Vader outfit walks around the house trying to use the force on household objects such as a washing machine. When his father arrives home, he eschews a hug from Dad in favor of trying to manipulate the family car, a Passat, using the force.
At the time the Little Vader ad went viral, the boy who portrayed the pint-sized version of one of cinema’s greatest bad guys so adorably in the ad, Max Page, appeared with his mom Jennifer on the TODAY show. Jennifer Page acknowledged that her son was born with a congenital heart defect, and said the boy used a pacemaker to manage the condition.
MSNBC reports that Little Vader has been working as an ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and trying to raise money for other kids with heart defects. The site has an excerpt from an email written by Max’s mom about the upcoming surgery. She says:
“Last night, I wanted to make sure he was doing as well as he seemed. He said, ‘Mom I don’t have a choice. I have to go through it. I don’t like it and it’s still scary — but I have to. So I think I might as well go through it with a good attitude.’ So as we hop on Max’s coattails to go on this ride — we too, shall do it with a good attitude. Though we will still tremble with tears and have our overwhelming moments — we will focus on the ‘CAN DO’ and enjoy our Fun Up House.”
“Mighty Max wants me to include one more thing — one of the lines he uses when he speaks to groups… ‘Kids, if you use your FORCE and dream big, you can achieve anything. We may be small — but we’re mighty!’”
Little Vader is set to undergo his heart surgery today.