The star of Walker the Texas Hound has died

Clarence Gilyard Jr., who made his Top Gun debut in 1986 as Sundown, one of the elite fighter pilots, has died at the age of 66.

News of his death was shared by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Fine Arts, where Clarence Gilyard Jr. worked as an associate professor.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Clarence Gilyard Jr. He was deeply respected by our school and students, and his extraordinary talent and dedication to teaching inspired us all.”

No further details about his death have been released.

After graduating from California State University with a degree in theater arts, Gilyard became an actor. He got his first role in the TV series Diff’rent Strokes in 1981.

In 1986, he made his debut in the movie Top Gun, where he played Sundown, one of the elite fighter pilots.

Two years later, he played Theo, a computer expert helping Hans Gruber’s terrorist group, in the thriller Die Hard.

He got his big break in 1989 when he got the role of Conrad McMasters in Matlock opposite Andy Griffith. He then played Chuck Norris’ law enforcement partner Jimmy Trivette in Walker, the Texas Hound.

Judson Mills, Chuck Norris and Clarence Gilyard in Walker the Texas Hound (Photo: CBS via Getty Images)

Despite his successful acting career, Gilyard retired from acting in 2006, choosing to teach.