In a terribly sad release, Dennis Farina’s rep has confirmed the death of 69 year-old Law & Order actor Dennis Farina after he suffered from a blood clot on his lung, reports. The actor was best known for his role as Det. Joe Fontana – an NYPD homicide detective - in NBC’s cop drama, Law & Order. As well as the long-running TV cop show, Farina also starred in Get Shorty, Snatch and Midnight Run where more often than not, he’d play the tough ‘bruiser’ type of character or the disgruntled bad guy.

Dennis Farina

However, in real-life it was clear that the actor was more of a teddy bear than a meat head, with a warm infectious smile and a head full of stories from his long acting career. In a past interview with Contact Music, Farina spoke of his love of golf, his home in Arizona where he goes to get tanned, and growing up in Chicago where he became a cop in real-life before he started playing them on screen.

Watch Dennis Farina As Tough Cop Joe Fontana In Law & Order:

When asked how he made the transition from police officer to actor, Farina replied “I was in the right place at the right time. A friend of mine named Charlie Adamson - a retired Chicago police sergeant who I worked for - he retires, he goes to Vegas to work security at the Tropicana hotel. (Director) Michael Mann is shooting "Vega$" (the 1970s detective show) at the Tropicana. They meet and they're both from Chicago, and Michael Mann tells Charlie Adamson, "I bought the rights to this book that I'm gonna turn into this screenplay." And Charlie says, "Well, I'm the guy who arrested the guy that the book is about!" So they get together to work on that,” adding that his friends back in the force gave him a hard time: "I was always the butt of a joke or something...they were, and they still are, big supporters of mine." And so Thief was made and the rest, as they say, was history.

Dennis Farina

Farina is survived by three adult children from a marriage that ended in 1980 and Marianne Cahill, who was the “love of his life” ever since his divorce, although the couple were never married.

Dennis Farina was a talented actor who will be well and truly missed.