Peter Falk died last night at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 83 years old.
His iconic role as homicide detective Columbo made Falk one of TV's biggest stars of all time.
His family says he was suffering from alzheimer's disease and dementia.
"Falk died peacefully at his Beverly Hills home in the evening of June 23, 2011," said a family spokesman.
In recent years, Falk had stayed out of the spotlight. There was an alarming incident three years ago, when he looked disoriented as he wandered around his exclusive neighborhood.
In a civil case over who would control his affairs, Falk's doctor testified that he couldn't even remember his Columbo character.
INSIDE EDITION last spoke to the actor in 2005, when he showed up at a Hollywood lunch sporting a massive black eye. But he still had the sense of humor of the famously dishevelled detective.
But what people most remember today are Falk's years as an extraordinarily gifted actor. In his rumpled raincoat, he was able to create one of the most memorable characters in TV history.