Michael K. William who played and immortalized the parts of Omar Little from The Wire and Chalky White from Boardwalk Empire has passed away at age 54. According to The New York Post, the Emmy-nominated actor was found unconscious in the dining room of his Brooklyn apartment at 2 pm on Monday, with what looked to be heroin on the kitchen table. Reportedly, his nephew discovered him and his death was confirmed by the NYPD. “No foul play indicated,” a police source was quoted saying. The insider also added that there was “no forced entry, the apartment was in order.” While it appears to be a drug overdose case, New York City’s medical examiner will determine the cause.
If it is so, it is especially heartbreaking because the legendary actor has always been vocal about the struggles and drug addiction that he had developed in his teenage years. In fact, the toll of his intense characters often aggravated his drugs problem. Earlier, he had told NYTimes how he was using cocaine during the shooting of HBO’s The Wire where he played the part of a notorious Baltimore stick-up man robbing drug dealers for a living. “The characters that mean the most to me are the ones that damn near kill me. It’s a sacrifice I’ve chosen to make,” he had added.
Now, has issued a statement and said, “We are devastated to learn of the passing of Michael Kenneth Williams, a member of the HBO family for more than 20 years. While the world is aware of his immense talents as an artist, we knew Michael as a dear friend who was beloved by all who had the privilege to work with him. We send our deepest condolences to his family for this immeasurable loss.”
Even friends from the industry and colleagues have expressed their grief and shock of losing the exemplary actor and so soon. From Mariah Carey to James Gunn, many celebrities have taken to social media to big goodbye to the man of the moment.
Michael K Williams, in addition to being one of the most talented actors around, was also one of the kindest, sweetest, most gentle souls I’ve ever met. This is heartbreaking. My thoughts are with all those who loved him. ❤️
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) September 6, 2021
Horrible, sad, and unbelievable to think we’ve lost the fantastically talented Michael K. Williams at the age of 54.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 6, 2021
A beautiful soul, a beautiful person, I’ll miss you always. Thank you for blessing us with your talent 💔 pic.twitter.com/Mt50HlY9CA
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) September 6, 2021
😩😓😓Not gonna lie this one fucked me up y’all!! Micheal K Williams was a solid dude. He was so nice to me when we did ghostbusters and we bonded on many levels!! Damn I was just thinking the next time I saw him I was gonna tell him how dope of an actor he is. Rest in live Bro! pic.twitter.com/OwYlO84FyX
— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) September 6, 2021
Truly gutted on hearing the passing of Michael K. Williams. A tremendous actor.
— Colman Domingo (@colmandomingo) September 6, 2021
The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss. A immensely talented man with the ability to give voice to the human condition portraying the lives of those whose humanity is seldom elevated until he sings their truth. pic.twitter.com/EvrESGSK8O
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) September 6, 2021
The thing about @BKBMG is that as fierce and foreboding as his characters often were, he as a man couldn’t have been more easy-going and lovely.
He was good, kind man and so fun to work with.
I am sorry to hear of his passing and of how. 😔
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) September 6, 2021
I can’t…I’m crushed. 💔 no words. I love you bro. RIP to the legend Michael K Williams aka one of the dopest Actors/Brother in the world. #Omar #TheWIRE FOR LIFE. I’m off the grid for a while hard to process this one. I love you bro smh damn 🤦🏿♂️ 😥😥😥 pic.twitter.com/UNK3F94opM
— Tray Chaney (@traychaney) September 6, 2021
Among the greatest performances tv and film has ever seen – https://t.co/sOzbvsLVNC
— John Cusack (@johncusack) September 6, 2021
Damn! Such a loss! This man was an amazing actor and a beautiful artist gone too soon…🙏🏾 Michael K. Williams Dead: ‘The Wire’ Star Was 54 – Variety https://t.co/ctvgMnCBgf
— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) September 6, 2021
Michael K Williams was a beautiful, passionate, expansive soul. I felt so lucky to have known him, and we were all so fortunate to have enjoyed his incredible talent. He burned so very bright.
Rest in power, MKW.
You will forever be The King. pic.twitter.com/LuFY0tG9NA
— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) September 6, 2021
There was something special about him. A quiet intensity. He was SO good in every single role. He studied his craft. He also expanded the view of what a same gender loving man looked like in the roles he played. Michael K Williams will be deeply missed. pic.twitter.com/BT9EwLjhP3
— April (@ReignOfApril) September 6, 2021
So heartbroken. @BKBMG thank you for the beauty and joy you brought to the world. Sending love and prayers to your friends, family and everyone who adored you 🙏🏾 me included ❤️ We adore you Sir. pic.twitter.com/R3ER7a8iTi
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) September 6, 2021
He had a really rare gift for being fully present in the moment & for conveying the layers under the words. He ran so deep. He was also kind & generously enthusiastic. I’ll be forever grateful that he graced ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ & that I got to share space & time w him. RIP💔
— Edward Norton (@EdwardNorton) September 6, 2021
Michael K. Williams was a god damn genius, a black queer icon who challenged the ideas of black masculinity at a time when it wasn’t easy and a truly great dude. A huge loss.
— Travon Free (@Travon) September 6, 2021
I used to be on staff at one of the many organizations Michael K Williams supported, and he was the one celebrity you could always count to show up. He shared his time, talent, and spirit with those kids, and the impact of that cannot be overstated. https://t.co/pC9noX8FwA
— Sage Young (@sageyoungest) September 6, 2021
Rest In Peace to Michael K. Williams. 🕊
I grew up watching your work and was truly inspired and I told myself one day I would have the opportunity to work with you & put you into one of my movies. Your soul and talents will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/MKEMEaDCIn
— Pryce Jones (@OfficialPryce) September 6, 2021
Getting to know him, he was everything I’d hoped he might be—funny, serious, deep, sensitive and joyful. He was absolutely beautiful inside and out. He loved to dance. And, that insanely gorgeous smile he had.
— Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman) September 6, 2021
Williams who is currently in Emmy contention for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his work on Lovecraft Country has an outstanding body of work filled with critically-acclaimed HBO programs, including The Night Of, and Lovecraft Country, Hap and Leonard, J.J. Abrams’ Alias. He has even appeared in critically acclaimed films such as “Inherent Vice, 12 Years a Slave, Gone Baby Gone, and The Road.
May he rest in peace and power.
Cover Image: Twitter