Top Gun and Die Hard star dies aged 66 after 'glittering' career

Clarence Gilyard Jr was known for roles in films such as Die Hard.
Clarence Gilyard Jr was known for roles in films such as Die Hard.

The actor passed away at the age of 66 after a battle with a 'long illness'

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Top Gun and Die Hard star Clarence Gilyard Jr has died, the University of Nevada has confirmed.

The actor passed away at the age of 66 after a battle with a “long illness”, reports have stated.

His glittering career spanned 30 years and included roles such as hacker Theo in Die Hard.

He also took on the role of naval flight officer Marcus “Sundown” Williams in Top Gun.

Clarence had been working at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as a film professor.

The college told Las Vegas Review-Journal: “His generosity of spirit was boundless — he was always ready to contribute to projects and performances however possible."

UNLV College of Fine Arts Dean Nancy Uscher said: “His students were deeply inspired by him, as were all who knew him.

“He had many extraordinary talents and was extremely well-known in the university through his dedication to teaching and his professional accomplishments.”

Clarence also appeared in popular drama Matlock between 1989 and 1993, as well as 1990s crime drama Texas Ranger.