'Columbo' actor Peter Falk has died.

The star, best known as Lieutenant Columbo in the TV series, passed away last night (23.06.11) at his Los Angeles home. The cause of death is not yet known.

The actor is survived by his wife of 34 years, Shera, and two adopted daughters, Catherine and Jackie.

A statement from the family read: "Falk died peacefully at his Beverly Hills home in the evening of June 23, 2011."

The actor had been suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and in 2009 his daughter Catherine Falk and Shera entered a legal battle over who should be in charge of his personal affairs, which his wife won.

Peter's career spanned over 40 years and saw him appear in numerous films, including two for which he was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, 1960's 'Murder, Inc.' and 1961's 'Pocketful of Miracles'.

He will mostly be remembered however, for 'Columbo', in which he starred in 69 episodes between 1968 and 2003.

Columbo was described as "everyone's favorite rumpled television detective" by historian David Fantle and in would appear in his trademark mackintosh coat, and use his keen eye for getting criminals to incriminate themselves, often by pretending to forget details about a crime.

Variety columnist Howard Prouty once wrote: "The joy of all this is watching Columbo dissemble the fiendishly clever cover stories of the loathsome rats who consider themselves his better."