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Williams was found dead by his nephew in the living room of his pad in the luxury Brooklyn high-rise, sources said.
The actor is currently a 2021 Emmy Award nominee for best-supporting actor for Lovecraft Country and also won acclaim for his role as Chalky White in 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 rep Marianna Shafran confirmed on Monday night.
Tributes flooded in to the actor with social media flooded with clips of his best performances and lines from the iconic show.
Wendell Pierce, who played Detective Bunk Moreland in The Wire, tweeted: “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.
“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.”
Incredible actor and person. So sad. R.I.P. https://t.co/aiTNhT3bbt
— Bill Burr (@billburr) September 6, 2021
Another The Wire co-star Domenick Lombardozzi, who played Herc in the series, tweeted: “Michael K Williams I knew was kind. Fair. Gentle. And super f***ing talented. I’ll cherish our talks and I’ll miss him tremendously. My deepest condolences to the Williams family. Rest my friend.”
— @tiffanydcross (@TiffanyDCross) September 6, 2021
“I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase, it’s all in the game tho, right?
Omar Little always had the best one liners. Rip to Michael Williams. 🙏🏻pic.twitter.com/6LVRS6sgn3
— Kip Smithers (@Chughes612) September 6, 2021
Rest in Peace Michael K. Williams. Gone far too soon. A man that taught me so much. Thank you for your wisdom. pic.twitter.com/qoOKxdnErF
— Damson Idris (@DamsonIdris) September 6, 2021
Mr WiIliams was open about how his screen life bled into his real life as he revealed he was privately suffering from drug addiction as he won acclaim for his portrayal of Omar who earned a living by robbing street-level heroin dealers.
He told NPR in 2016 that he once stumbled into a church in New Jersey desperately seeking help.
“When I came through those doors, I was broken. … This was, I would say, around the … third season of ‘The Wire,’ ” Williams said.
“I was on drugs. … I was in jeopardy of destroying everything I had worked so hard for, and I came in those doors, and I met a man who had never even heard of ‘The Wire,’ much less watched it,” he said, referring to the pastor.
“I wrote my full name down — Michael Kenneth Williams — and in the office, [the pastor] turns around, and he says, ‘So what do you want to be called, man?’ I said, ‘Well, you know, my name is Michael, but I could do Mike.’
“He says, ‘Why does everybody say, ‘Omar, Omar’s in trouble?’ ” And I was like, ‘Oh, this dude is clueless [about the show]’.”
As well as The Wire, Williams, who had a distinctive facial scar from a bar fight on his 25th birthday, had roles in gangster series Boardwalk Empire and TV film Bessie.
He was a four-time Emmy nominee for Bessie, The Night Of When They See Us and Lovecraft Country.
Last week, it was announced Williams had joined the cast of Sony’s untitled biopic of famed world heavyweight champion George Foremen.
He was set to play Doc Broadus, who was Foreman’s trainer and mentor.
His other film roles included The Road, Inherent Vice and 12 Years A Slave.