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The Wire actor Michael K Williams found dead aged 54 at his New York home

Written by on 06/09/2021

The Wire actor Michael K Williams has died at the age of 54, police in New York say.

Williams, who was known for his role as Omar Little in the hit TV series, was found by police at his Brooklyn home at around 2pm on Monday.

The PA news agency said his death was confirmed by police sources in New York. Officials say an investigation is ongoing.

The four-time Emmy nominee earned nods for his roles in Bessie, The Night Of, When They See Us and, this year, HBO’s Lovecraft Country.

Dominic West and Michael K Williams in The Wire. Pic: Moviestore/Shutterstock
Image: Dominic West and Michael K Williams in The Wire. Pic: Moviestore/Shutterstock

The actor, who had a distinctive facial scar from a bar fight on his 25th birthday, also won fans for his role as Chalky White in gangster series Boardwalk Empire.

“It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams. They ask for your privacy while grieving this unsurmountable loss,” his long-time representative Marianna Shafran of Shafran PR told The Hollywood Reporter.

Filmmaker James Gunn also paid tribute to Williams, describing him as among the “most gentle souls I’ve ever met”.

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Michael K. Williams. Pic: AP
Image: The four-time Emmy nominee earned recognition for parts in Bessie, The Night Of and When They See Us. Pic: AP

He tweeted: “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.”

Last week it was announced Williams had joined the cast of Sony’s untitled biopic of famed world heavyweight boxing champion George Foremen.

He was set to play Doc Broadus, who was Foreman’s trainer and mentor.

Fellow actor Wendell Pierce, who played Detective Bunk Moreland in The Wire, called Williams his “brother”.

On Twitter he said: “The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss. An 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.”

Aisha Tyler, the actress and director, said Williams was a “beautiful, passionate, expansive soul”.

She tweeted: “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.”

Chance The Rapper referenced Williams’s portrayal of Albert “Chalky” White on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

He said: “A lot of people knew him as Omar, I knew him as Chalky. I’m sure his family knew his as Michael. Thanks for all you gave to encourage, enlighten and entertain people you didn’t even know. Praying for your people.”

Williams’ other film roles included The Road, Inherent Vice and 12 Years A Slave.

 Sky News

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