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In the prequels and Clone Wars, Yoda is a spry and agile 870 year old. In just a short amount of time in Yoda-years he becomes feeble and decrepit, then suddenly dies. What makes a Yoda suddenly (in Yoda-years) become sickly and weak?

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    you assuming that an extended life-span also means that 'milestones' are also extended - there's nothing that precludes a rapid decline in health once Yoda's race reaches a certain race... – HorusKol Jun 27 '11 at 23:16
  • Fights only when necessary, Yoda does. – Mikasa Sep 3 '16 at 22:46
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Yoda is OLD. In his fights in the prequel trilogy, he draws heavily on the Force to sustain himself and enhance his speed, strength, etc.

This is seen quite obviously when he pauses to pick up his cane after the fight with Dooku, and mentioned in multiple Expanded Universe (since rebranded 'Legends') works (not always specific to Yoda).

On Dagobah, Yoda avoids using the Force as much as possible. He is there to hide his immense Force presence, masking it with the Dark Side presence of the cave. Thus, he doesn't extensively use his abilities - it could give him away. He is still relatively spry. Despite this, he is tired and worn out. Life in a swamp, especially if you've been used to the conveniences of a modern (or post-modern) world your whole life, is VERY difficult. Simple survival is a challenge.

By the third movie, he has become ill. He lives in a swamp, it happens. He is likely feverish, which affects his ability to concentrate, and his body is finally breaking down. He is also ready to go at that point - his final student has graduated, his tasks are all but complete, and there is essentially nothing left he can do to change what will happen.

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    What is a 'EU works'? – geoffc Jun 24 '11 at 15:01
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    @geoffc Expanded Universe. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_Expanded_Universe – shadowfission Jun 24 '11 at 15:03
  • I doubt if that was the reason Yoda didn't use the force often. Uses of the force were limited to what they could accomplish back then due to the resources available at the time. Yoda was a mere puppet. Though practical reasons aside, he probably arrived at a point where he had great difficulty accomplishing anything. – Neil Jun 29 '11 at 15:48
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    @Neil: agreed, but the question seemed to desire an in-universe explanation. 'Because the special effects weren't there yet' isn't that. – Jeff Jun 29 '11 at 17:45
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    It's also possible that the very Dark Side energies that kept him concealed also ate away at his strength. – ApproachingDarknessFish Aug 15 '13 at 3:25
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He was so old and the conditions where he lived last 40 years were bad. Disappointment and awful life conditions reduces his life time.

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    I think it was stress. I mean, he saw everyone who he worked with on a daily basis massacred, the government he worked under destroyed by an evil force, by someone he once knew, and he's spent several decades in hiding, knowing that he could be killed if found. That's stressful, and probably going to knock a few years off. – Nate Watson Jun 1 '15 at 2:59
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The unbalance in the force caused him to become agile and sick.

That's how I figured it.

Edit: After thinking about the answer I gave to another question, I would say that Yoda got weak after the balance from the force shifted away from the Light Side and towards the Dark Side and with his age.

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    I like this answer, but does the force work like that? – CamelBlues Jun 24 '11 at 19:03
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    @CamelBlues - No. We've never seen it work anything near this way. – Jeff Aug 1 '11 at 16:37
  • @Jeff Well, not unless you count Padme's mysterious death – Mikasa Sep 3 '16 at 22:55

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