Mouseketeer and 'The Rifleman' actor Johnny Crawford dies at 75

Actor Johnny Crawford, known for his role as Mark McCain as a child actor on "The Rifleman," has died. He was 75.

According to the actor's website, he died Thursday with his wife by his side after battling Alzheimer's disease and contracting COVID-19.

"It is with great sadness that we share the news of Johnny Crawford’s passing," the website posted. "We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from friends and fans around the world."

Crawford rose to stardom after being cast in the ABC series "The Rifleman" which ran for five seasons. Crawford played the son of a western rancher Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) who was also a union Civil War veteran. His role in "The Rifleman" led him to be Emmy-nominated for best supporting actor in a dramatic series.

"The Rifleman" actor Johnny Crawford has died. He was 75.
"The Rifleman" actor Johnny Crawford has died. He was 75.

Before playing young McCain, Crawford was one of the first Mouseketeers on the Mickey Mouse Club. He also made appearances in many TV series aired in the 1950s including "The Lone Ranger," "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "The Loretta Young Show."

The actor also worked in music. In 1962, Crawford's song "Cindy's Birthday" peaked on the Billboard charts at No. 8. He is also credited with performing the song "Easy Come Easy Go" featured on 2004 film "Hellboy."

Friends in entertainment remembered Crawford on Twitter as an "inspiration" and a "dear friend."

"My dear friend #JohnnyCrawford just passed away. I pray for his wife Charlotte as she was by his side. Johnny was a real cowboy and will be greatly missed," wrote "Happy Days" actor Scott Baio.

"How the West Was Won" actor Bruce Boxleitner wrote: "@johnnycrawford was one of the kindest guys I ever met. I never heard a cross word pass his lips. An inspiration to me as a boy and a friend of mine since the 80s."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Johnny Crawford, 'The Rifleman' actor, dies at 75