Clarence Gilyard Jr., a popular supporting actor whose credits include the blockbuster films “Die Hard" and “Top Gun” and the hit television series “Matlock” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” has died at age 66.

His death was announced this week by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he taught stage and screen acting. Additional details were not immediately available Tuesday.

“Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV,” the school’s film chair, Heather Addison, said in a statement.

“Whenever we asked him how he was, he would cheerfully declare that he was ‘Blessed!’ But we are truly the ones who were blessed to be his colleagues and students for so many years.”Gilyard was a Moses Lake, Washington, native.

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