American actor Dennis Weaver, who was famous for his role as Chester in the television show Gunsmoke, has died at the age of 81.

Weaver's publicist said Monday that he died at his home in Colorado from complications caused by cancer.

As a young man, Weaver served in the Navy during World War II and took part in qualifications for the 1948 U.S. Olympic decathlon team.

He later pursued acting, and won an Emmy award in the 1950s for his role as the tall, limping Chester on the Western Gunsmoke.

Dennis Weaver also starred in a television series during the 1970s called McCloud and appeared in several major movies.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.