In the wake of the death of the acclaimed actor, Michael K. Williams—of a suspected heroin overdose on September 6— New York police detectives have launched an investigation into the narcotics found at the scene and have initiated a search for the drug dealer though no foul play was indicated.
The 54-year actor, best remembered for his roles as Omar Little on “The Wire” and Chalky White in “Boardwalk Empire” (and currently up for an Emmy for his portrayal of Montrose Freeman on “Lovecraft Country”), was found dead in his luxury Brooklyn apartment by a family member.
“Our family has been shaken to the core of the loss of our Mike,” said Compton Councilmember Michelle Chambers, who is the sister of actor Michael K. Williams, in a statement following the death of her brother:
“Thank you to everyone who contacted us, flooded us with love, and more importantly, prayers,” Chambers continued. “I will miss my brother, my best friend and birthday partner in this realm, but I know he will continue to watch over me and our family in heaven as he did on earth.”
The 54-year old actor had spoken openly of his struggle with addiction, admitting in a 2012 interview that he’d spent much of this earning from “The Wire” doing drugs “in scary places with scary people.”
Prior to his death, Williams had been working on a documentary about former prison inmates reentering society, given his passion as an ACLU ambassador working to end mass incarceration.
To that end, New York Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn—who represents parts of Brooklyn—is working with the ACLU to introduce a prison reform bill in honor of Williams.
Meanwhile the tributes keep flowing in. Idris Elba, who played Stringer Bell in The Wire, simply posted a black square with the initials MKW. Spike Lee posted a picture and he and Williams at a basketball game.
“The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss,” tweeted “The Wire” co-star Wendell Pierce. “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.”
Mariah Carey shared, “A beautiful soul, a beautiful person, I’ll miss you always. Thank you for blessing us with your talent.”
“I feel punched in gut to learn we’ve lost Michael K Williams,” posted Edward Norton. “Soul anguished. Getting to work with him was one of the greatest privileges I’ve had in my career. My admiration for his talent was boundless, like so many. If he was in a scene he was the best thing about it. Period.”
Viola Davis remarked, “No! So sad. Man do I wish this were a different ending. Rest well. Praying for your loved ones.”
From famed director Ava DuVernay came these observations: “I remember the times you’d come on set even when you weren’t on the call sheet. Just to share a hug. To cheer us on. Strolling in like the King that you were. For just a flash to give some love — then gone. I remember nights out in NYC that summer and how you were so loved by the folks in your city. I remember our work on the work, always connected and communicating and excavating and building because you were so open and ready to give your all. I remember you sending me a picture of yourself as a young man and sharing with me that the boys whose story we were telling were a reflection of you — and we were going to get it right,”
Giancarlo Esposito wrote on Instagram, “I have never met a more loving, caring, beautiful human being. A true friend and thespian. I will forever miss you my dear brother. Godspeed.”
Other celebrities posting tributes included Niecy Nash, Kerry Washington, Aisha Tyler, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Jesse Collins, Comedian Jay Pharoah and James Gunn.