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German 'Tatort' star Götz George, dead at 77

The beloved German actor Götz George has passed away at the age of 77 after a short illness. He was well-known for his role as Inspector Horst Schimanski on the long-running German crime show "Tatort."

The versatile German television and film actor Götz George has passed away, the star's agent in Berlin announced late on Sunday.

George, age 77, died last week on June 19 after a brief illness, his agent said. The German daily newspaper "Bild" reported that George was privately buried in Hamburg, at a ceremony attended by family members.

Although he played numerous characters over the span of his 65-year acting career, millions in Germany remember George best as the brash inspector Horst Schimanski on the weekly crime drama "Tatort."

He embodied the Duisburg detective a total of 48 times on the show over the course of 32 years.

The announcement of George's death sparked messages of mourning from German fans on Twitter. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said that with the passing of Götz George, "our country loses one of our great character actors."

Former national German soccer player Christoph Metzelder simply tweeted: "Bye, Shimanski"

The actor found great success on the silver screen as well, portraying the mass-murderer Fritz Haarmann in the 1995 movie "The Deathmaker," as well as a sleazy journalist in the 1992 comedy "Schtonk."

George was born in 1938 to a well-known acting family in Berlin. His father, Heinrich George, was a prominent but controversial actor who starred in Nazi propaganda films. In 2013, Götz George played his father in a TV documentary drama about his life.

He was honored for his life's work in 2007 with the annual Deutscher Fernsehpreis (German television prize).

rs/jm (AFP, dpa)

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