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Law & Order: SVU airs dedication to late star Richard Belzer

richard belzer
Law & Order: SVU airs dedication to Richard BelzerJamie McCarthy - Gallery Stock

Law & Order: SVU has aired a touching dedication to late star Richard Belzer following his death.

The actor, who played Detective John Munch on the show for 23 years before his departure in 2016, passed away over the weekend aged 78.

At the end of last night's (February 23) episode 'King of the Moon', a screen tribute with the words "in memory of Richard Belzer" was broadcast for viewers.

Related: Why these actors quit the Law & Order franchise

Director Mariska Hargitay shared a shot of the moment on her Instagram account, which comes a few days after her own tribute to her late co-star.

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

"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."

Other stars also paid tribute, with Christopher Meloni (Elliot Stabler) saying: "Richard 'The Belz' Belzer. A beautiful soul, a dapper dresser, with the spirit of a child. Never met anyone like him, and I never will again."

Related: Law and Order: SVU star says goodbye to the show after 13 seasons

Law & Order creator Dick Wolf said in a statement on Belzer's passing: "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 Tom [Fontana] that I wanted to make him one of the original characters on SVU. The rest is history.

"Richard brought humour and joy into all our lives, was the consummate professional and we will all miss him very much.”

Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays on NBC in the US. The show airs on Sky Witness in the UK, with select episodes available on NOW.

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