'Immeasurable loss': Tributes paid to The Wire actor Michael K Williams found dead aged 54
The Wire actor Michael K Williams has been found dead aged 54 at his home in Brooklyn.
Williams, best known for playing the charismatic Omar Little on HBO’s acclaimed crime drama, was found at about 2pm local time on Monday, it is understood.
As well as The Wire, Williams, who had a distinctive facial scar from a bar fight on his 25th birthday, had roles in gangster series Boardwalk Empire and TV film Bessie.
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He was a four-time Emmy nominee for Bessie, The Night Of, When They See Us and Lovecraft Country.
In a statement, HBO, the network where Williams became a star, described his death as an “immeasurable loss”. It said: “We are devastated to learn of the passing of Michael Kenneth Williams, a member of the HBO family for more than 20 years.
“While the world is aware of his immense talents as an artist, we knew Michael as a dear friend who was beloved by all who had the privilege to work with him. “We send our deepest condolences to his family for this immeasurable loss”.
Last week, it was announced Williams had joined the cast of Sony’s untitled biopic of famed world heavyweight champion George Foreman.
He was set to play Doc Broadus, who was Foreman’s trainer and mentor.
His other film roles included The Road, Inherent Vice and 12 Years A Slave.
However Williams will be best remembered for Omar, the gay, morally ambiguous criminal who frequently targeted drug dealers.
The character was known for the distinctive duster jacket he wore to conceal weapons while wandering the streets of Baltimore.
Actor and comedian Martin Lawrence paid tribute to Williams in an Instagram post, writing: "My condolences and prayers go out to the family of the unforgettable and talented Michael K Williams."
Isiah Whitlock Jr starred alongside Williams in The Wire and paid tribute on Twitter.
He said: “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”.
Another Wire cast member, Wendell Pierce, best known for his role as Detective Bunk Moreland, tweeted: “If you don’t know, you better ask somebody. His name was Michael K Williams. He shared with me his secret fears then stepped out into his acting with true courage, acting in the face of fear, not in the absence of it. “It took me years to learn what Michael had in abundance”.
Domenick Lombardozzi, who played Herc in The Wire, tweeted: “Michael K Williams I knew was kind. Fair. Gentle. And super f****** talented. I’ll cherish our talks and I’ll miss him tremendously. My deepest condolences to the Williams family. Rest my friend”.
Actress and director Aisha Tyler said Williams was a “beautiful, passionate, expansive soul”.
She tweeted: “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”.
Paul Feig, who directed Williams in the 2016 Ghostbusters film, tweeted: “This is devastating. Michael was the greatest guy. We had so much fun together on Ghostbusters. Just a lovely human being.
“My heart goes out to his family and friends. RIP Michael. You were awesome”.