Actor Colin Tarrant, who was best known for playing Inspector Andrew Monroe in ITV1’s The Bill, has died aged 59.

According to statement released by the actor’s family, he passed away suddenly at Bristol Royal Infirmary on Thursday, although no details of the cause of death were given.

However the People has reported that Tarrant was found at his home in Bristol with knife wounds, with the paper claiming he died in a suspected suicide.

The actor had worked largely in theatre – including starring in Calendar Girls and playing football legend Brian Clough in the play Old Big ‘Ead In The Spirit Of The Man – since leaving The Bill in 2002 when his character fell victim to a fire at Sun Hill police station.

The show, which ran for 26 years and spanned 2,400 episodes, was eventually axed in 2010.

Tarrant also appeared on the small screen in Holby City and Midsomer Murders since leaving the show. He is survived by partner Sabrina and baby son Louis, as well as 24-year-old Juma, his son from his relationship with previous partner Patricia Woodhouse.

“Colin was best known as Inspector Andrew Monroe in the television series The Bill, a part he played very happily for many years,” the statement said.

“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 also paid tribute to the actor, saying “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.”