Peter Falk, the American actor famous for his role in the TV detective series Columbo, has died at the age of 83.

Falk died peacefully at his Beverly Hills home in the evening of June 23, 2011, according to his family's statement. Falk had reportedly been suffering from Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

The actor's mental conditions worsened over time. His personal physician Dr. Stephen Read said at one point he couldn't even remember the character that made him famous, detective Columbo.

Columbo began in 1971 as part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie series. It took hardly any time for the series to become the most popular of the three mysteries, the others being McCloud and McMillan and Wife. Falk was reportedly paid $250,000 a movie.

Columbo presented a contrast to other TV detectives. He looks like a flood victim, Falk once said. You feel sorry for him. He appears to be seeing nothing, but he's seeing everything. Underneath his dishevelment, a good mind is at work.

Rob Reiner, director of the movie The Princess Bride in which Falk starred, said there is literally nobody you could compare him to. He was a completely unique actor.

He has won the Emmy Award on five occasions (four for Columbo) and the Golden Globe award once.

Falk leaves behind his wife of 34 years, Shera, and two daughters from a prior marriage.