Michael K. Williams, who played Omar Little on “The Wire,” passed away on Monday afternoon when dead unresponsive in his penthouse. The actor was 54.
Police told The Associated Press that his death is being investigated as a possible drug overdose.
In past interviews, Williams had opened up about his history with drugs.
“I was playing with fire. 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,” he told The (Newark) Star-Ledger in 2012.
He added that he wondered if surviving his drug problem was pure luck.
“I thought, ‘Why me? Why did I get spared?’ I should’ve been dead. I have the scars. I’ve stuck my head in the lion’s mouth. Obviously, God saved me for a purpose. So, I decided to get clean and then come clean. I’m hoping I can reach that one person,” he added.
Williams is best known for his role of Omar Little on “The Wire,” but recently received attention for his role on “Lovecraft Country.” His role of Montrose Freeman in the show earned him an Emmy nomination for this year’s Emmy Awards.
After news of the beloved actor’s death spread, many actors he worked with decided to pay tribute to him.
Isiah Whitlock Jr., who starred in “The Wire” with Williams, shared a tweet saying Williams was “one of the nicest brothers on the planet.”
Shocked and saddened by the death of Michael K Williams. One of the nicest brothers on the planet with the biggest heart. An amazing actor and soul.
May you RIP. God bless.
— Isiah Whitlock Jr. (@IsiahWhitlockJr) September 6, 2021
Wendell Pierce, another one of his “The Wire” co-stars tweeted saying, “The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss.”
The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss. A 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. pic.twitter.com/EvrESGSK8O
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) September 6, 2021
Director James Gunn tweeted saying Williams was, “one of the most talented actors around” and “also one of the kindest, sweetest, most gentle souls.”
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. ❤️
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) September 6, 2021
Just last week, it was announced by Deadline that Williams “had just joined an upcoming George Foreman biopic, where he was signed on to play the legendary boxer’s real-life mentor and trainer, Doc Broadus.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Max Montgomery