Veteran US actor Fred Thompson, best known for Law & Order, has died aged 73.
“It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, husband, father, and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville surrounded by his family,” his family said in a statement.
Thompson played D.A. Arthur Branch on Law & Order from 2002-2007, and reprised the role on the spinoffs Special Victims Unit and Trial by Jury.
Film credits included Marie, No Way Out, Die Hard 2, The Hunt for Red October, Days of Thunder, Cape Fear, In the Line of Fire, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Thunderheart and Born Yesterday.
His other TV credits included Sex and the City, The Good Wife, Life on Mars, Wiseguy, Roseanne and Matlock.
Thompson also had a political and legal career, elected to the Senate in 1994 and serving until 2003.
The Alabama-born Thompson first gained popular attention as a legal counsel on the Senate Watergate Committee investigating the 1972 break-in at Democratic Party headquarters in Washington. In July 1973, Thompson asked the question that led to the disclosure by White House aide Alexander Butterfield of a taping system inside the White House.
The existence of the tapes played a pivotal role in the investigation of the Watergate cover-up and the 1974 resignation of President Richard Nixon.
He also briefly ran for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.