The actor died of complications from cancer on Friday (24FEB06) at his home in Colorado, his publicist Julian Myers announced today (27FEB06).
Weaver appeared on Gunsmoke for nine seasons in total. The role won him an Emmy award for the 1958-59 season.
The actor is also well known for playing SAM McCLOUD from 1970-1977, the no-nonsense lawman from New Mexico who battled crime on the streets of New York City. McCloud used wild-west tactics, such as riding his horse through the streets of Manhattan, to solve crimes.
Weaver served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1973-1975.
The actor was also an activist for protecting the environment and combating world hunger and built a solar-powered home in Colorado out of recycled tires and cans.
Weaver is survived by his wife, GERRY, sons RICK, ROBBY and RUSTY, and three grandchildren.