(PresidentialHill.com)- “Die Hard” and “Walker, Texas Ranger” star, Clarence Gilyard Jr. has passed away at the age of 66, according to The Western Journal. His death was reportedly confirmed by a representative, but no cause has yet been announced.
He was not in good health for many years the representative told Fox News.
Gilyard appeared in many prominent films and television series. He appeared as Marcus “Sundown” Williams in the 1986 film “Top Gun” alongside Tom Cruise. He was temporarily assigned as Maverick’s RIO.
Film critic Courtney Howard tweeted that Gilyard “solidified his place in film history” because of his roles in “Die Hard” and “Matlock.”
He also appeared in “Matlock” from 1989 to 1993, as private investigator Conrad McMasters who worked alongside Andy Griffith’s defense lawyer. He then moved on to act as “Jimmy” Trivette in “Walker, Texas Ranger” from 1993 to 2001.
After his acting career, Gilyard was reportedly a theater professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) College of Fine Arts. Dean Nancy J. Uscher announced his death in a statement to the school earlier this week.
Uscher wrote that Gilyard was well-known throughout the university and inspired many students.
“He had a national and international following through his celebrated work in the theatre, in film, and television,” she wrote.
UNLV film chair Heather Addison called the acting legend a “beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV,” adding that whenever someone asked how he was he would say, “Blessed!”
One fan tweeted that he had met him and called him “lovely.”
“I had a photoshoot with him and got his autograph. RIP you will be missed by everyone even by people who only met you briefly.”
Gilyard was born on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1955, in Moses Lake, Washington. He was reportedly a military brat moving around bases before his family settled in California. He spent a year at the Air Force Academy as a cadet before eventually earning his bachelor’s degree in acting at California State University, Dominguez Hills.