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Michael K Williams, star of HBO series The Wire and Boardwalk Empire, has been found dead in his New York apartment. He was 54.
According to the New York Post, the actor was found by law enforcement on Monday afternoon (6 September). The cause of death has yet to be revealed.
His death was later confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter by Williams’s representative who said that it was “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”.
Williams rose to fame on The Wire, playing stick-up man Omar Little and as Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire.
David Simon, co-creator of The Wire, wrote: “Too gutted right now to say all that ought to be said. Michael was a fine man and a rare talent and on our journey together he always deserved the best words. And today those words won’t come.”
Tray Chaney who appeared with Williams in The Wire said: “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.”
Director Spike Lee added: “Our Greats Are Leaving Us Left And Right. God Bless”, sharing a photo of him with Williams. Director Barry Jenkins added: “This can’t be true.”
Author Stephen King tweeted: “Horrible, sad, and unbelievable to think we’ve lost the fantastically talented Michael K. Williams at the age of 54.”
Travon Free added: “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. Somebody tell God, Omar coming.”
Musician Chance The Rapper tweeted: “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.”
Director James Gunn added: “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. “
Fans around the world the world have been reacting to the news. One said on social media: “He was a giant in the acting world” while another added: “One of the finest actors of his generation.”
You can see some more of the reactions from fans and the entertainment world below:
Among Williams’ most recent performances was his role as Montrose Freeman in HBO’s Lovecraft Country. The actor received a 2021 Emmy nomination for his role, as outstanding supporting actor in a drama series, as well as four other Emmy nominations in his career.