Actor Michael K. Williams, best known for portraying Omar Little in The Wire, has died at age 54.
He was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, and according to The New York Post, his cause of death is a suspected heroin overdose. However, this is yet to be confirmed.
Williams was reportedly discovered unresponsive, face down with drug paraphernalia on his kitchen table at his penthouse in Williamsburg.
His body was found by his nephew, who performed a welfare check after the beloved actor did not show up to a scheduled event.
Michael K. Williams was a five-time Emmy nominee who portrayed the iconic Baltimore stick-up man Omar Little in the HBO series The Wire.
He also played Chalky White in the HBO series The Boardwalk Empire and more recently as Montrose Freeman in Lovecraft Country — earning numerous nominations and accolades for his work.
HBO paid tribute to Williams in a statement:
“We are devastated to learn of the passing of Michael Kenneth Williams, a member of the HBO family for more than 20 years. While the world is aware of his immense talents as an artist, we knew Michael as a dear friend who was beloved by all who had the privilege to work with him. We send our deepest condolences to his family for this immeasurable loss.”
Williams talked about his drug addiction past
The gifted actor was very open about his past drug use as he became a star from his iconic role on The Wire.
As he portrayed Omar Little, who earned a living robbing drug dealers, he struggled with an addiction of his own. Williams told NJ.com that he feared his drug abuse in 2004 would take his life.
“I was playing with fire,” Williams said to the publication about his addiction, adding: “It was just a matter of time before I got caught and my business ended up on the cover of a tabloid or I went to jail or, worse, I ended up dead. When I look back on it now, I don’t know how I didn’t end up in a body bag.”
Williams revealed in the interview that he hid his addiction from his friends and eventually kicked the habit.
Tributes pour in for Michael K. Williams
Many admirers noted his immense acting talent, others who knew him describe him as a courageous, kind individual who gave back to his community.
Rapper Pharoahe Monch called Williams “an amazing human.”
Fat Joe lamented that he “had so much more life” in him.
Recently, Michael K. Williams was set to star in a George Foreman biopic as the boxer’s trainer Doc Broadus. He was also rumored to star as DMX in a future project.
Williams never married and he reportedly dated actress Tasha Smith in 2019.
He is survived by his son, Elijah Williams.