Thomas Gibson, who plays Special Agent Aaron Hotchner in Sky Living's popular crime drama Criminal Minds, has been fired following a "physical altercation" on set

Long-standing Criminal Minds star Thomas Gibson has sensationally been axed from the hit US crime drama following an altercation on the show’s set in Los Angeles.

In a joint statement ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios, who produce the series, announced:

“Thomas Gibson has been dismissed from Criminal Minds. Creative details for how the character’s exit will be addressed in the show will be announced at a later date.”

Gibson’s departure comes after he was involved in a physical altercation with another member of the Criminal Minds company during filming for an upcoming episode.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that Gibson kicked a writer during a disagreement on set. His dismissal comes after a two-episode suspension that has been made permanent following an internal review into the incident.

The 54-year-old actor has played Special Agent Aaron Hotchner in the popular crime drama since it began in 2005.

Thomas Gibson, Criminal Minds

Gibson as Special Agent Aaron Hotchner in Criminal Minds

Following his dismissal, the actor, who starred in Dharma & Greg and Chicago Hope, released a statement saying: “There were creative differences on the set and a disagreement. I regret that it occurred.

“I love Criminal Minds and have put my heart and soul into it for the last 12 years.

“I had hoped to see it through to the end, but that won’t be possible now. I would just like to say thank you to the writers, producers, actors, our amazing crew, and, most importantly, the best fans that a show could ever hope to have.”

Gibson was filming for the upcoming 12th series of the popular drama, which follows a team of FBI profilers who use behavioural analysis to anticipate the next move of serial killers.

CSI: Miami star Adam Rodriguez has joined the cast this season as Luke Alvez, a Fugitive Task Force Agent. He replaces long-serving cast member Shemar Moore, who left the show during the 11th series.

Criminal Minds airs on Sky Living in the UK.