Dennis Farina has died aged 69.

The 'Law & Order' actor - who was well known for his role as Detective Joe Fontana in the US legal drama - passed away yesterday (22.07.13) in a Scottsdale, Arizona, hospital after suffering a blood clot in his lung, his publicist confirmed.

Dick Wolf, creator of 'Law & Order', said in a statement: ''I was stunned and saddened to hear about Dennis' unexpected passing.

'''The Law & Order' family extends sympathy and condolences to his family. He was a great guy.''

Farina starred in several serious movies including 'Midnight Run', in which he played a gangster, but he also had a flair for light-hearted parts such as his role as Abraham ''Avi'' Denovitz in comedy crime film 'Snatch'.

He also portrayed Richard ''Dick'' Banger alongside Cameron Diaz in 2008 comedy 'What Happens in Vegas'.

Several stars have paid tribute to the 'Saving Private Ryan' actor - who previously worked as a Chicago police officer before making his acting debut in 1981 motion picture 'Thief' - including Hollywood legend Robin Williams.

Robin wrote on Twitter: ''New Jersey. Night shoot. Pouring rain. You in a speedo. RIP Dennis Farina. #olddogs (sic)''

The 'X Factor' USA presenter Mario Lopez tweeted: ''R.I.P Dennis Farina... Ex Chicago cop turned actor. Great guy, pleasure to have known him.#MidnightRun #Serrano'sGotTheDiscs! (sic)''

'Cheers' star Kirstie Alley also paid tribute to the late star, describing him as an ''awesome actor''.

She wrote: ''RIP Dennis Farina... what an awesome actor and person.. love love love (sic)''