WASHINGTON (AP) _ New York Daily News columnist Lars-Erik Nelson has died, newspaper officials reported Tuesday.

Nelson, 59, was a former Daily News bureau chief in Washington and was a columnist for the newspaper at the time of his death.

He died at home Monday while watching television. The cause of death has not been determined, said Tom DeFrank, Daily News Washington bureau chief.

``I divide the world into two kinds of folks: those I want in the foxhole with me and those I don't. I always wanted Lars in my foxhole,'' DeFrank commented.

Before joining the Daily News, Nelson had served as a diplomatic correspondent for Reuters, specializing in Soviet and eastern European reporting. He later was a diplomatic correspondent for Newsweek.

A native New Yorker, Nelson was a graduate of Columbia College with a major in Russian.