Actor Michael K. Williams, known for portraying the character Omar Little on HBO's beloved drama series The Wire, has died at age 54. NYPD confirms to Variety that the actor was found deceased at 2 p.m. inside his Brooklyn home.
Williams played in many notable roles in some of HBO's most acclaimed shows, including The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Lovecraft Country, and The Night Of.... The actor also appeared in acclaimed films such as 12 Years a Slave, Gone Baby Gone, and Inherent Vice.
Williams' performances were highly praised, earning him five Emmy nominations and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. The actor joined the cast of The Wire as Omar Little in 2002, and would earn raves for his iconic portrayal of the show's charismatic stick-up man. The Wire's gritty depiction of Baltimore street life has earned the series praise as one of the greatest dramas in television history.
The actor was reportedly found dead in his Williamsburg apartment by his nephew around 2 p.m. Numerous reports indicate that Williams was found next to drug paraphernalia; with authorities declaring that the actor passed from a suspected heroin overdose.
"It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams," spokeswoman Marianna Shafran told The Hollywood Reporter. "They ask for your privacy while grieving this unsurmountable loss."
Williams has been open about his battles with addiction in the past. He spoke openly about his struggles with substance abuse in a 2017 interview with New York Times.
"Addiction doesn't go away. It's an everyday struggle for me, but I'm fighting."
Williams gave a tribute to the late DMX at the 2021 BET Awards, reciting a spoken word medley from some of the emcee's most personal and heartfelt lyrics. The actor delivered a spirited performance in remembrance of his fellow New York artist.
Michael K Williams just gave a tribute to DMX back in June at the BET Awards. Surreal pic.twitter.com/oTtEaXJe6p— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) September 6, 2021
Many of the actor's friends have come out to honor the late actor's life and achievements.
"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," Aisha Tyler wrote on Twitter. "He burned so very bright."
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.— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) September 6, 2021
Rest in power, MKW.
You will forever be The King. pic.twitter.com/LuFY0tG9NA