According to the New York Post, Michael K. Williams has passed away, possibly of an overdose.
The Post learned from Law Enforcement that the 54-year-old Lovecraft Country actor was found in his Brooklyn apartment by his nephew.
While there isn’t an official cause of death, there was drug paraphernalia in the apartment, suggesting a possible overdoe.
The star had been open about his personal struggle with drugs, revealing in an interview with NPR in 2016 that he went to a church in New Jersey to get help for his addiction.
“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.
While William’s career began in 1994 with an uncredited appearance in a Madonna video (Secret), his career really took off when he starred in the critically acclaimed HBO series, The Wire, as Omar Little.
That character was an amalgamation of crime figures from Baltimore, and at the time, USA Today noted that William’s performance as Omar was one of the ten reasons they still loved television.
In 2010, Williams joined another HBO show, Boardwalk Empire.
For all five seasons, through 2014, Williams was Albert “Chalky” White, the leader of Atlantic City’s black community in the 1920s.
Williams also starred with James Purefoy in SundanceTV’s adaptation of Hap and Leonard.
Williams was Leonard Pine, a gay, black Vietnam veteran and lifelong friend of Purefoy’s Hap Collins.
Most recently, Williams was a part of the Netflix miniseries, When They See Us from Ava DuVernay and HBO’s Lovecraft Country, on which he played Montrose Freeman, father to Atticus.
Williams also had roles on The Sopranos, Alias, Boston Legal, Law & Order: SVU, Community, and The Night Of from HBO.
He was nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards.
Williams garnered three nods for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Bessie (2015), The Night Of (2016), and When They See Us (2019).
He received one nomination Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Lovecraft Country (2021), and he a shared nomination for Outstanding Informational Series or Special for Vice (2018).
A representative for Williams’ shared a statement with The Hollywood Reporter.
“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.”
Our hearts go out to his family and friends.
Michael Kenneth Williams will be missed by all.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.