'Law & Order: SVU' Showrunner Warren Leight Is 'Struggling With Loss' Like Others Amid Coronavirus Crisis

After Law & Order: Special Victims Unit lost one of its own to the coronavirus, showrunner Warren Leight told fans that he was "struggling" with coming to terms with the news during an "SVU watch party" on Twitter Thursday night. He took to the social media platform to share his thoughts with his 44,000 followers after a crew worker died from COVID-19.

"We're all isolated and anxious, many of us are unemployed, or struggling with loss -- we lost costumer Josh Wallwork today — so this [SVU Watch Party] is... complicated. We just want to be here for each other and for the fans tonight," he wrote during the event. The tweet was in reply to SVU writer Brendan Feeney, who encouraged fans to join the watch party while quarantining.

"We're all at home. We're all in this together. So in one hour let's all get down with an [SVU Watch Party]!" Feeney wrote. "So many great guest stars. So many twists and turns. You won't want to miss it."

Earlier on Thursday, Leight announced the passing of Josh Wallwork, 45, who had been a costumer on SVU since 2019. "Very sad news today. One of our costumers, and a beautiful man, Josh Wallwork, passed away from complications of [COVID-19]," Leight wrote. "Cast and crew send love and prayers to his family and friends. We are heartbroken."

In the tweet, Leight shared a screenshot of a Facebook post from a family friend announcing the tragic news. "It is with permission of The Wallwork Family, and a heavy heart supported by loved ones, that I announce the passing of Josh Wallwork from complications of [COVID-19]. He peacefully transitioned at the tender age of 45, today," the post read. "You are loved by so many. As we always [used] to say, 'Until next time', my love."

Series star Mariska Hargitay, who plays Captain Olivia Benson on the longrunning NBC show, also paid tribute to Wallwork. "Heartbroken we are. I don't think I ever saw him without a smile on his face. He brought love and kindness everywhere he went," she wrote on Twitter. "Always ready with the joke. The SVU Corredor will never be the same. We will miss you Josh." She also added the hashtag "#ForeverInOurHearts."

Although Wallwork hadn't worked on SVU for long, he was experienced in the business, having previously worked as a costumer on Madam Secretary, The Get Down and Bull. He clearly made a strong impact on those shows as well; Madam Secretary producer Lori McCreary wrote that she was "devastated" by his death.

"I am devastated to share the news that Josh Wallwork, our amazing Costumer on Madam Secretary, passed away today due to complications from [COVID-19]," McCreary wrote alongside a photo of him, adding in her message how his smile would light up their days and make everyone on set happy.

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The United States leads the world in confirmed cases of the coronavirus with 86,012 — and 1,301 deaths — as of 10 a.m. ET Friday, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

Photo credit: NBC / Contributor / Getty