Sad news this morning as it has been announced that 'Law & Order: SVU' actor Richard Belzer has passed away. He was 78.

The American actor, best known for his portrayal of Detective John Munch in the long-running drama series, died at his home in France.

Belzer began his career as a stand-up comedian in New York in the 1970s, and was the warm-up comedian for 'Saturday Night Live' for 5 years. His acting career began with small roles in the likes of 'Scarface' and 'Fame' as well as several music videos, while he first portrayed John Munch in 'Homicide: Life on the Street' from 1993 - 99, and 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' from 1999 - 2013.

Such was the character's infamy that Belzer also portrayed Munch in various other series, including 'The X Files', '30 Rock', 'Arrested Development' and 'The Wire'.

He died from complications of unspecified circulatory and respiratory conditions, while his friend, novelist Bill Sheft, revealed his final words. "He had lots of health issues," he said, "and his last words were, “Fuck you, motherfucker’."

Comedians including Billy Crystal, Eric Idle and Marc Maron have paid tribute to Belzer, which you can see below.