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Mariska Hargitay is mourning the loss of a dear friend and former cast member.
On February 19, that longtime actor and comedian Richard Belzer died at the age of 78. Known for working on shows such as , fans got to know him for his portrayal of Detective John Munch for 17 seasons on
Shortly after the news about Richard's death broke, Mariska shared a heartfelt tribute to her friend . "Goodbye my dear, dear friend," she wrote in a post. "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."
She continued: "How lucky the angels are to have you. I can hear them laughing already. I love so very much, now and forever."
Reacting to Mariska's message, fans immediately swarmed her comments section. Folks rallied around to share their condolences for the loss in the family.
'Law and Order: SVU'
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"What a legend. May his memory be a blessing 🤍," one person wrote on Instagram. "He was an amazing actor, comedian and person in general. He influenced so many lives. May he rest in [peace] ❤️," another added. "Truly sad. Sending love and prayers for everyone that knew him," a different user replied.
While Richard was famous for his work on it wasn't the only place he portrayed Detective Munch. His first time appearing in the Dick Wolf-created franchise goes back to the original , where he made his character debut in the season 6 episode "Charm City." After portraying the role from 1996 to 2000, he jumped ship to join the Mariska-led spinoff. He also played Munch in
Because of Richard's longstanding relationship with the procedural dramas, the franchise's official Instagram also shared to the actor.
"Anyone who ever had the pleasure of watching Richard Belzer portray Det. John Munch — whether on or – over four decades will never forget how much he inhabited that beloved character to make it his own," the show's account wrote. "His professionalism, talents and dedication to the craft made him a pillar in the industry, but it was his humor, compassion and loving heart that made him family."
The caption concluded: "Our condolences go out to his loved ones as we join them in mourning his loss, but also in celebrating his memory."