The New York City Police Department, Michael K. Williams found dead was discovered at 2 p.m. The death is being examined as a probable drug overdose, and the cause will be determined by the city’s medical examiner.
Michael K. Williams, who was born in New York in 1966, started out as a dancer, performing with Madonna and George Michael before moving on to acting with companies like the National Black Theatre Company.
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
Williams played Omar Little on HBO’s “The Wire,” a five-season drama about the dark underbelly of Baltimore’s corruption, narcotics, and police, and was possibly the most recognizable character on a show many believe to be among the best in television history.
With profound regret, the family announces the death of Emmy-nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams. Marianna Shafran of Shafran PR, his longtime publicist, said, “They ask for your privacy while grieving this enormous loss.”
Brooklyn is mourning one of its native sons. Michael K. Williams was a generational talent and a tireless advocate for social justice.
As Omar in The Wire, he once said “sometimes who you are is enough.” Michael was always unabashedly himself — and he will be deeply missed. https://t.co/CQ6y2znYtd
— Eric Adams (@BKBoroHall) September 6, 2021
Williams was discovered in his Brooklyn residence on Monday afternoon, according to a spokesperson for the New York Police Department. There was no immediate word on the cause of death.
Michael K. Williams played Leonard on SundanceTV’s criminal series Hap and Leonard” and had a recurrent part on J.J. Abrams’ “Alias.” Williams was a regular on many notable HBO programs, including “The Wire,” “Boardwalk Empire, The Night Of and “Lovecraft Country.” In addition, he appeared in critically praised films such as Inherent Vice, 12 Years a Slave, Gone Baby Gone, and The Road.
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 actor’s efforts earned him three Emmy nominations for outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or film for his roles in “When They See Us,” “The Night Of,” and “Bessie.” For his efforts on “Lovecraft Country,” he is nominated for an Emmy for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series.
Fans were shocked to learn of Williams’ passing, since many regarded him as one of the most accomplished performers of his generation.
On Twitter, David Simon, the show’s creator and former Baltimore crime reporter, said he was “too crushed right now to say everything that ought to be said. Michael was a wonderful man with a unique gift, and he always deserved the highest praise during our time together. Those words aren’t coming today.
Tray Chaney, who played a drug dealer on the show, expressed his disappointment by saying he was “crushed.” Williams, who played Omar Little, a rogue robber of heroin dealers on “The Wire,” created one of television’s most iconic characters in recent decades.
Little, a “stick-up guy” modeled on real-life Baltimore people, was possibly the most popular character among “The Wire” fans, who watched the HBO show from 2002 to 2008 and still watch it on Netflix.
Williams, who was born in Brooklyn, has spent more than two decades as a character actor in various shows and films.
He was nominated for an Emmy for his work in Lovecraft Country and in the 2015 film Bessie, in which he played the husband of blues artist Bessie Smith.
He was also nominated for The Night Of in 2016 and When They See Us in 2019, both of which are about a group of young Black guys who were falsely convicted of rape in Central Park in the 1980s.
In a statement, HBO said, While the world is aware of Michael’s enormous talents as an artist, we knew Michael as a good friend who was beloved by those who had the honor to work with him.
— David Simon (@AoDespair) September 6, 2021
Mayor Bill de Blasio remarked, Michael K. Williams worked to mend an often broken world. He was generous and courteous, and he supported those who were fighting for justice. His work, notably his role in ‘The Wire,’ was memorable and life-affirming in its own right. Tonight, we’ll remember all of those who loved him.
For more than two decades, Williams, who was born in Brooklyn, has been a regular character actor in various shows and films, including appearances on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Lovecraft Country, as well as in the films 12 Years a Slave and Assassin’s Creed.