American actor and comedian Richard Belzer has passed on at the age of 78.
His death was confirmed by an associate and friend, Bill Scheft, who disclosed that the comic died on Sunday, surrounded by family in his home at Bozouls, France, PEOPLE reports.
Belzer was popular for his role as Detective John Munch in the NBC series, ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’ from 1993 to 1999. He afterwards reprised the character in ‘Law & Order: Special Victim Unit’ from 1999 to 2013.
Belzer was also a warm up comedian for the audience in the early seasons of the Saturday Night life show.
In a statement by Dick Wolf, the creator and Executive Producer of ‘Law & Order: SVU’, Belzer is described as the “consummate professional” who “brought humour and joy” into the lives of his audience.
Wolf’s release read in part, “Richard Belzer’s detective John Munch is one of television’s iconic characters. I first worked with Richard on the Law & Order/Homicide crossover and loved the character so much, I told Tom (Fontana) that I wanted to make him one of the original characters on SVU. The rest is history
“Richard brought humor and joy into all our lives, was the consummate professional, and we will all miss him very much.”