Mariska Hargitay Reacts to 'Law & Order: SVU' Costar Richard Belzer's Death: 'Goodbye My Dear, Dear Friend'

"I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world," Hargitay wrote in honor of Belzer, who died Sunday

Mariska Hargitay and Richard Belzer (Photo by Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage)
Photo: Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage

Mariska Hargitay is honoring her late Law & Order: Special Victims Unit costar Richard Belzer, who died Sunday at the age of 78.

"Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world." Hargitay, 59, wrote on Instagram. "I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years."

"How lucky the angels are to have you. I love you so very much, now and forever," the post concluded.

Costar Christopher Meloni also shared a photo of Hargitay feeding Belzer on the Law & Order: SUV set.

Meloni, 61, additionally reacted to the news of his costar's death in a separate tweet, featuring a photo of him kissing Belzer's cheek. "Good bye mon ami. I love you," he wrote, along with the hashtag #TheBelz.

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Belzer, an actor, comedian and author, died at his home in Bozouls in southwest France. The official cause of death has not yet been revealed.

Former Late Show with David Letterman writer Bill Scheft confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter. "He had lots of health issues, and his last words were, 'F--- you, motherf---er,'" Scheft told THR.

Belzer was best known for his role as Detective John Munch on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. After originating the role on NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street in 1993 and reprising the character in the Law & Order parent series, he appeared in nearly 330 episodes of SVU between 1999 and 2013, with two additional cameos in 2014 and 2016.

NBC and Universal Television said in a statement: "Anyone who ever had the pleasure of watching Richard Belzer portray Det. John Munch — whether on Homicide or Law & Order: SVU – over four decades will never forget how much he inhabited that beloved character to make it his own.

"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. Our condolences go out to his loved ones as we join them in mourning his loss, but also in celebrating his memory."

Law & Order: SVU creator and executive producer Dick Wolf also released a statement in response to the news of Belzer's death.

"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 [screenwriter] 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."

Of his SVU role, Belzer noted, "I would never be a detective, but if I were, that's how I'd be. The character is very close to how I would be. They write to all of my paranoia, anti-establishment dissonance and conspiracy theories, so it's a lot of fun for me. It's like a dream, actually."

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