Michael K. Williams at the Nostrand Avenue basketball court in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn in 2017. His work frequently examined the intersection of race, masculinity, crime and institutional failure.Credit...Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

Michael Williams was a beloved actor for many African Americans, and when news broke that he died a few hours ago; grief was felt around the world.  Marianna Shafran, Willimas’ long-time media relations person, told 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.”

According to reports, Williams’ nephew discovered the actor’s body around 2 p.m. in the dining room of William’s upscale apartment. It is reported that the drug heroin was on the kitchen table.

The actor was 54 years old and became known for his film roles in HBO’s TV series “The Wire” as Omar Little and Chalky White in “Boardwalk Empire.” William’s recent role was in HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” and the series “F Is for Family.”

In his role as Omar Little, Williams portrayed a man who made a living robbing drug dealers, and he played a mobster in “Boardwalk Empire.”

Cops hold evidence bags at the scene where Michael K. Williams was found dead.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post

In real life, the actor spoke openly about the challenges he faced with substance abuse.  “Addiction doesn’t go away,” he said at the time. “It’s an everyday struggle for me, but I’m fighting,” he told a reporter for the New York Times. 

And in 2016, he told another news site his addiction was so severe, he went to a nearby church in New Jersey as a cry for help. “When I came through those doors, I was broken. … This was, I would say, around the … third season of ‘The Wire,'” Williams told the site. “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 (the pastor) who had never even heard of ‘The Wire,’ much less watched it.”

Williams’ acting talents spoke for themselves. He had five Emmy nominations; the first was in 2015 for his role in “Bessie,” followed by  two years later for his role in “The Night Of.” He won the SAG Award for best ensemble with the cast of “Boardwalk Empire.”

This year, Williams was nominated as best supporting actor for his role in “Lovecraft Country.”

Director James Gunn added: “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.”

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