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Dennis Farina Was Battling Lung Cancer At The Time Of His Death

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Actor Dennis Farina was battling lung cancer at the time of his death, his doctor confirmed Tuesday.

TMZ released a 911 call placed by a woman just days before Farina died, notifying emergency personnel that the "Law & Order" actor needed oxygen because he was having trouble breathing. The woman described him as a "cancer patient," even though it had never been publicly reported he was suffering from the disease.

The Huffington Post received a statement from the late actor's cardiologist, Dr. Marc A. Kates, via his publicist, Lori De Waal, about the state of his health.

"He had a small cancer 13 years ago that was treated and cured with surgery," the doctor said. "Over the last several months, he unfortunately experienced a recurrence of the cancer which was being treated. Despite treatment, over the weekend a blood clot developed in Mr. Farina's lung which unexpectedly and suddenly took his life."

Farina died Monday morning at a hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., after suffering a blood clot in his lung, De Waal previously confirmed. He was 69 years old.

"Law & Order" executive producer Dick Wolf told the AP he was "stunned and saddened to hear about Dennis' unexpected passing this morning. The 'Law & Order' family extends sympathy and condolences to his family."

The Chicago native served 18 years on the Chicago Police Department's burglary division before trying his hand at acting when he was 37, People magazine notes. His big-screen debut was in 1981's "Thief." From there he went on to secure roles in "Miami Vice," "Get Shorty," "Out of Sight," "Law & Order," HBO's "Luck" and "New Girl."

Those who knew him and worked with him remember him fondly.

“He thought all he had to do to have a career as an actor was to be known as ‘Dennis, the dream to work with,’" "Thief" director Michael Mann told the Chicago Tribune. "Because everybody told him that. He was the best guy on the planet. And he was a lot more than a nice guy. He had the charisma and the ability as a storyteller and raconteur to hold your interest. He appreciated the fullness, the roundness, of human life.”

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