Actor Michael K. Williams Has Passed Away At Age 54

Michael K. Williams has died. The actor best known for his portrayals of “Omar Little” in The Wire and “Chalky White” in Boardwalk Empire was found unresponsive this afternoon (September 6) in his Brooklyn, New York home. He was 54 years old. The NYPD confirmed the death to Variety. No cause of death has been revealed, though the New York Post has reported that sources have suggested that a substance believed to be heroin was found on the actor’s kitchen table. The publication’s sources also state that a nephew discovered the actor’s body.

Williams’ family released the following statement, published at Deadline: “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 insurmountable loss.” Williams is survived by his mother.

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Williams was a native of Brooklyn’s East Flatbush section. He attended the same George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School as JAY-Z, Busta Rhymes, and Biggie Smalls. He first worked as a dancer and model, appearing in a Crystal Waters music video and on tour with Madonna and George Michael. In 1996, Michael appeared in the Tupac Shakur film Bullet before acting in Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out The Dead. On television, the actor made appearances in Law & Order and The Sopranos.

The 2000s marked a breakthrough period for Williams. David Simon’s The Wire gave the actor a prominent role as street bandit “Omar Little.” The iconic character was a highlight on the award-winning series, and Williams was involved with 41 episodes. He carried that into other series, Boardwalk EmpireThe Night OfWhen They See Us, and Lovecraft Country. Williams was Emmy-nominated multiple times across parts and took home a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance In A Drama Series” for his Boardwalk Empire role. He also starred in R. Kelly’s “Trapped In The Closet” music video epic.

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By the 2010s, his film work accelerated to include roles in 12 Years A SlaveInherent Vice, and The Gambler, among others. He then hosted a VICE documentary series, Black Market With Michael K. Williams.

In music, Williams acted in videos by Ghostface Killah and Young Jeezy. He also starred in the Sticky Fingaz and Page Kennedy film, A Day In The Life. Michael also appeared alongside the ONYX MC on the 2009 soundtrack.

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Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to Michael K. Williams’ family, collaborators, and many fans.