Colin Tarrant, who was best known for his role as Inspector Andrew Monroe in The Bill, has died, his family said.
No details of his death were given, but the People reported the actor died in a suspected suicide and was found at his home in Bristol with knife wounds.
Tarrant, 59, had performed in a number of stage shows since leaving the long-running ITV police drama, which was axed in 2010.
A statement released on behalf of his family said he died suddenly at Bristol Royal Infirmary on Thursday.
It added: "Colin was best known as Inspector Andrew Monroe in the television series The Bill, a part he played very happily for many years.
"Since leaving the series he has triumphed on stage as Brian Clough in The Spirit Of The Man and had recently played John in the enormously successful stage production of Calendar Girls, and to which he would have returned this autumn."
West End theatre producer David Pugh added: "Colin was a lovely man, he loved the theatre, his politics and his family, our hearts must go out to his son Juma, his partner Sabrina and their baby son Louis."
The Bill, set in the fictional London area of Sun Hill, was launched as a series in 1984 and ran for 26 years.
Despite having a cult following, audience numbers fell in later years and it was eventually axed after 2,400 episodes.