The Netherlands is mourning the death of prominent crime journalist Peter R de Vries, leaving the country in disbelief.

"Peter fought to the end, but he could not win the battle. He is surrounded by people that love him," according to a statement by his family published by CNN affiliate RTL News. "Peter lived by his conviction: 'On bended knee is no way to be free.' We are impossibly proud of him and at the same time inconsolable."

"His family, partner, and loved ones want to process his death in peace and we ask everyone to respect that."

The 64-year-old, famed for his investigative work exposing the criminal underground, was shot five times in central Amsterdam July 6, shortly after leaving the RTL TV studios, where he routinely appeared on television as a criminal expert.

For nearly two decades, De Vries had been a household name in the Netherlands, renowned for pursuing cold cases, exposing miscarriages of justice, and having his own TV investigative show. He had received death threats in connection with several cases.

Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Thursday that his death was "almost impossible to comprehend" and that his murder "must not go unpunished."

"Peter R. de Vries was always dedicated, tenacious, afraid of nothing and no one. Always looking for the truth and standing up for justice. And therefore all the more dramatic that he himself has now become victim to a great injustice," Rutte said in a statement on Twitter.

"We owe it to Peter R. de Vries to ensure that justice takes its course. We may and will never tolerate this in the Netherlands."

Amsterdam's mayor also paid tribute to de Vries, calling him "courageous, free-spirited and determined."

The motive for the shooting remains unknown. So far, two suspects are in custody.