Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday he would officially declare Feb. 2 "Chris Kyle Day" in the state, in honor of the late U.S. Navy Seal sharpshooter portrayed in the film "American Sniper."

The movie, starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle, who was killed by a disgruntled U.S. veteran on a Texas gun range in 2013, has been a box office hit as well as a flash point of debate between liberals and conservatives.

Abbott, a Republican, made the announcement during a speech at the Texans Veterans of Foreign Affairs Mid-Winter Convention in Austin, according to a statement from the governor's office.