Acclaimed and much beloved actor Michael K. Williams, best known for his role as Omar on the hit HBO series The Wire, has passed away. THR reports that the actor was found dead by his nephew in the living room of his Brooklyn apartment on Monday, but a cause of death hasn’t yet been determined. He was 54 years old.
“It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams,” a statement from the actor’s rep Marianna Shafran reads. “They ask for your privacy while grieving this unsurmountable loss.”
Many others are also paying tribute to the actor. That includes The Suicide Squad director James Gunn who wrote in a tweet, “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.”
Aisha Tyler added: “Michael K Williams was a beautiful, passionate, expansive soul. I felt so lucky to have known him, and we were all so fortunate to have enjoyed his incredible talent. He burned so very bright. Rest in power, MKW. You will forever be The King.”
A Brooklyn native, Michael Kenneth Williams was born on Nov. 22, 1966. Taking inspiration from Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814, Williams started his career in entertainment as a dancer, appearing in videos and on tours with notable musicians like Geroge Michael and Madonna. He also worked as a model and choreographed Crystal Waters’ 1994 single “100% Pure Love.” Years later, he would portray the police officer in R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” series.
On his 25th birthday in 1991, Williams was slashed on the face with a razor during a bar fight, and the scar would become a signature part of his look. In the mid-1990s, Williams began to get more involved with acting when he was discovered by Tupac Shakur. This got him cast as the legendary rapper’s brother in the 1996 movie Bullet. Once an established actor, he would go on to appear in many more movies over the years, which includes acclaimed performances in 12 Years a Slave and The Gambler.
Williams might be most well known for playing Omar Little on The Wire, a fan favorite role that earned him great acclaim. He later impressed with his roles as Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire, Freddy Knight on The Night Of, and Bobby McCray on When They See Us. More recently, he starred as Montrose Freeman on Lovecraft Country, a role that earned him an Emmy nomination. He was also nominated for his roles in When They See Us, The Night Of, and the TV movie Bessie.
Other TV shows to feature Williams include Law & Order, CSI, Community, and The Sopranos. Some of his many other big screen credits include Assassin’s Creed, The Road, and the remakes of RoboCop and Ghostbusters. His final performances will be seen in the upcoming movies Surrounded and 892.
Williams is survived by his mother, and our thoughts go out to her along with the rest of the family and friends at this time. May Michael K. Williams rest in peace. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.