Hollywood is mourning a celebrated actor, multiple Emmy nominee, artist, and friend. On September 6, the world learned that The Wire and Lovecraft Country star Michael K. Williams had died at the age of 54. Now, the tributes are pouring in.
Wendell Pierce, Taraji P. Henson, Mariah Carey, Kerry Washington, and many more of Williams’ co-stars and friends took to social media to share their shock over his passing and to celebrate the life they knew and loved.
“The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss,” wrote Williams’ The Wire co-star Wendell Pierce in a lengthy thread. “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,” he continued.
“If you don’t know, you better ask somebody. His name was Michael K. Williams. He shared with me his secret fears then stepped out into his acting with true courage, acting in the face of fear, not in the absence of it. It took me years to learn what Michael had in abundance,” Pierce added.
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“He was proud of the artist he had become, asking for my advice long after he had surpassed any incite I could have shared. Always truthful, never inauthentic. The kindest of persons. Like two mischievous kids, we would laugh & joke whenever we would meet.”
On Instagram, Henson posted a video of Williams.
“Rest well my friend. JESUS!!! You will be missed deeply.” Several notable followers, including Holly Robinson Peete, Tamar Braxton and Big Boi immediately jumped in the comments with their own well wishes and praying-hand emojis.
“Shocked and saddened by the death of Michael K Williams,” wrote Isiah Whitlock Jr., who starred with Williams on The Wire, on Twitter. “Shocked and saddened by the death of Michael K Williams. One of the nicest brothers on the planet with the biggest heart. An amazing actor and soul.”
Williams was found dead in his penthouse apartment in Brooklyn on the afternoon of September 6. His death is currently being investigated as a possible drug overdose, as authorities found drug paraphernalia near his body.
“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 rep told The Hollywood Reporter.
Williams had spoken about addiction in the past, telling The New York Times in 2017 that “addiction doesn’t go away,” and that it is an “everyday struggle” for him.
On The Wire, which ran on HBO from 2002 to 2008, Williams played Omar Little—one of the most beloved and iconic TV characters in recent years. The character was based on real-life figures from Baltimore, who only robbed drug dealers.
In addition to starring on that series (and giving fans one of the most shocking on-screen deaths of all-time), Williams was on the casts of critically acclaimed series like Boardwalk Empire, Bessie, The Night Of, When They See Us and Lovecraft Country, as well as the films 12 Years a Slave and Assassin’s Creed.
Over his career, Williams was nominated for five Emmys, including his most recent nod this year as a supporting actor in Lovecraft Country. His role of Montrose Freeman has generated a ton of buzz, and the actor is favoured to win a trophy heading into the September 19 show.
Our thoughts go out to Williams’ family and friends during this difficult time.
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