• Actor Richard Belzer has passed away at age 78
  • He is best known for his years on Law & Order: SVU
  • Stars Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni have paid tribute

Richard Belzer, one of the greats of crime TV, died on Feb. 19. As "John Munch," he was part of Law & Order: SVU from its first season until his exit in 2016.

Needless to say, his former colleagues are deeply saddened by his passing. Lead actress Mariska Hargitay posted moving words about Belzer on Instagram.

The SVU cast remembers "Munch" actor Richard Belzer

"Goodbye my dear, dear friend," Hargitay wrote. "I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world.

"I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years."

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She ended her statement with: "How lucky the angels are to have you. I can hear them laughing already. I love you so very much, now and forever."

Co-star Christopher Meloni also said goodbye. On Twitter, he posted a picture of them together and wrote: "Good bye mon ami. I love you."

Belzer died in mid-February at the age of 78. He is said to have passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in southern France...

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