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Tributes paid to The Wire and Boardwalk Empire actor Michael K Williams

Williams, 54, was found dead in his apartment in Brooklyn on Monday.

Image: Evan Agostini

Updated Sep 7th 2021, 7:31 AM

SPIKE LEE, WENDELL Pierce and Aldis Hodge have led the tributes to The Wire actor Michael K Williams following his death aged 54.

Williams, who memorably played shotgun-wielding stick-up man Omar Little on HBO’s acclaimed crime drama, was found dead at his home in Brooklyn yesterday, police in New York said.

No cause of death was given.

A representative confirmed the news, describing the death of Williams as an “insurmountable loss”.

He received an Emmy nomination earlier this year for the role of Montrose Freeman in the series Lovecraft Country, and had appeared in films including 12 Years a Slave and Inherent Vice.

Tributes have flooded in for Williams, who as well as his role on The Wire earned fame and plaudits for playing Albert “Chalky” White on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Lee, 64, who like Williams grew up in Brooklyn, shared a picture of himself and “my brother” together.

He wrote on Instagram:

“Our Brother Passed Away Today In His Home, Da People’s Republic Of Brooklyn. I’m Shook. Drinking A Bottle Of Italian Red Wine-Brunello Di Montalcino By Myself. Our Greats Are Leaving Us Left And Right. GOD BLESS.”

Pierce, 57, starred alongside Williams on The Wire, playing Detective Bunk Moreland.

He wrote on Twitter: “The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss. An 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.”

David Simon, creator of The Wire, also paid tribute to Williams.

He posted a picture of the actor to Twitter and wrote: “Too gutted right now to say all that ought to be said. Michael was a fine man and a rare talent and on our journey together he always deserved the best words. And today those words won’t come.”

Award-winning actress Kerry Washington said: “So heartbroken. @bkbmg thank you for the beauty and joy you brought to the world. Sending love and prayers to your friends, family and everyone who adored you me included We adore you Sir.”

Oscar-winner Viola Davis said: “No! So sad. Man do I wish this were a different ending. Rest well.”

Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg said: “RIP Michael K. Williams, so brilliant in #BoardwalkEmpire. You will be missed.”

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Wendell K Pierce, who played Detective Bunk Moreland in The Wire paid a warm tribute.

“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,” he said. 

He grew up in a housing project in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in the borough.

He is survived by his son Elijah. 

With reporting from © AFP 2021, PA

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