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Mariska Hargitay Pays Tribute to ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Co-star Richard Belzer | “How Lucky the Angels Are to Have You”

Mariska Hargitay is paying tribute to her late  co-star Richard Belzer. The beloved comedian and veteran actor died on Sunday, February 19, at the age of 78. Belzer was best known for his role as Detective John Munch on . "Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world," the 59-year-old actress who plays the unstoppable Olivia Benson on the show  on Instagram. "I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years," she added.

She concluded with a sweet note saying,  "How lucky the angels are to have you. I love you so very much, now and forever." Co-star Christopher Meloni also  a photo of Hargitay feeding Belzer on the set of. "Good bye mon ami. I love you. #TheBelz," Meloni  on Twitter in a heartfelt message along with a photo of the Elliot Stabler actor kissing Belzer on the cheek.The actor appeared in nearly 330 episodes of SVU between 1999 and 2013. He first played the role on NBC's  in 1993 and reprising the character in the parent shows. He also had cameos in 2014 and 2016

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NBC and Universal Television said in a , "Anyone who ever had the pleasure of watching Richard Belzer portray Det. John Munch — whether on – over four decades will never forget how much he inhabited that beloved character to make it his own." They praised his "professionalism, talents and dedication to the craft" which made him a "pillar in the industry, but it was his humor, compassion and loving heart that made him family." They added, "Our condolences go out to his loved ones as we join them in mourning his loss, but also in celebrating his memory."

According to , the comic died early Sunday at his home in Bozouls in southwest France. Writer Bill Scheft, a longtime friend of the actor, told the outlet, “He had lots of health issues, and his last words were, ‘F*ck you, motherf*cker',” Scheft said. The official cause of death has not yet been revealed.In a 2008 interview with The Comic's Comic, the late actor who was also an author  of his famous TV role that it was "flattering to me to see me depicted in a script and that I’m so recognizable and lovable as the sarcastic detective and smart-ass. Much to my delight, because he is a great character for me to play, it’s fun for me. So I’m not upset about being typecast at all.”

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