Jennifer Lopez Remembers Her Late 'Partner in Crime' Ray Liotta: 'I Felt Lucky to Have Him'

·4 min read

Jennifer Lopez is paying tribute to her late friend and costar Ray Liotta.

The Goodfellas actor died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic on Thursday, PEOPLE confirmed. He was 67.

After news of his death broke, Lopez, 52, turned to Instagram to share a tribute post in Liotta's honor.

The duo starred on NBC's crime drama Shades of Blue together from 2016 to 2018. Lopez played Detective Harlee Santos, and Liotta portrayed her colleague and father figure, Lieutenant Matt Wozniak.

"Ray was my partner in crime on Shades of Blue … the first thing that comes to mind is he so was kind to my children," she began her post, which featured a slideshow of photos of the pair together.

For more on the death of Ray Liotta, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

She continued, "Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside … I guess that's what made him such a compelling actor to watch. The original Goodfella."

"We shared some intense moments on set those three years!" Lopez continued. "When I first heard he took the job on Shades of Blue I was thrilled, and the first time we walked on set to do our first scene together there was an electric spark and a mutual respect and we both knew this was going to be good."

"We enjoyed doing our scenes together and I felt lucky to have him there to work with and learn from," she recalled. "Like all artists he was complicated, sincere, honest and so very emotional. Like a raw nerve, he was so accessible and so in touch in his acting and I will always remember our time together fondly."

Concluding her emotional post, Lopez wrote, "We lost a great today … RIP RAY … it's so sad to lose you what seems way to soon … I will remember you always. Sending so much love and strength to your daughter Karsen, your family and all your loved ones."

RELATED: Ray Liotta's Life in Photos

Jennifer Lopez, ray liotta
Jennifer Lopez, ray liotta

Kevin Mazur/Getty Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta

In November, Liotta spoke to PEOPLE about how his personality differed from the tough-guy roles he played in TV and film. "I have never been in a fight at all, except for during sports, and that's just pushing and goofy kid stuff," he said at the time.

He added of his career, "It's weird how this business works, because I've definitely had a career that's up and down. For some reason, I've been busier this year than I have in all the years that I've been doing this. And I still feel I'm not there yet. I just think there's a lot more."

The star recently appeared in the Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark and the Amazon Prime series Hanna, and he was currently filming the movie Dangerous Waters.

Jennifer Lopez, ray liotta
Jennifer Lopez, ray liotta

Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta on Shades of Blue

RELATED: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lorraine Bracco, Taron Egerton and More React to Ray Liotta's Death: 'Shattered'

In addition to Lopez, several of Liotta's former costars paid tribute to the actor following his death on Thursday.

His Dominick and Eugene costar Jamie Lee Curtis mourned his death on Twitter, writing, "Ray Liotta has died. His work as an actor showed his complexity as a human being. A gentle man. So sad to hear."

Lorraine Bracco, who starred alongside Liotta in Goodfellas, revealed she was "utterly shattered" by the news of his death.

"I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas," she shared on Twitter alongside a photo of her and Liotta. "Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same…Ray Liotta."

Ray Liotta
Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta

Taron Egerton, who stars alongside Liotta in the upcoming Apple TV series Black Bird, also shared a heartfelt Instagram tribute to his costar.

"I have never felt such an easy, warm connection with another performer," he wrote in part. "He was so generous. If I went one way he followed me. Always dancing. Always listening. Never self-generated."

"I am extraordinarily proud of my next project," he continued. "It was hard work and I was blessed to have a number of incredible scene partners, but I will always be most proud of my scenes with Ray; the relationship we built felt real in some strange way."