Michael K. Williams likely died of an overdose, police sources are saying.
The actor best know for his roles in The Wire and Boardwalk Empire was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment on Monday afternoon. He was 54. Now, NYPD sources are telling NBC News and other media outlets that it's being investigated as an overdose.
On Tuesday's Today show, Carson Daly reported that two senior NYPD officials said the likely cause was a drug overdose. Police officials also told NBC 4 New York they found what appeared to be drug paraphernalia in the apartment.
The New York Post reported that the five-time Emmy nominee — who had talked openly about his past struggles with drugs — was found unresponsive in his Williamsburg penthouse apartment. There appeared to be heroin on the kitchen table, police sources told the outlet. There was "no foul play indicated," one police source said. "No forced entry, the apartment was in order.’’ Police are investigating where the drugs found in Williams's home came from.
A spokesperson for the NYPD tells Yahoo Entertainment that police responded to a 911 call of an unconscious male at his luxury apartment building at 1:55 p.m. Upon arrival, police discovered Williams unconscious in the living room. EMS was on scene and pronounced him deceased.
Yahoo Entertainment has also reached out to the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner will update this story with any response.
Williams's longtime rep, Marianna Shafran of Shafran PR, said in a statement after his death, “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."
And many are grieving. Social media is flooded with clips of Omar Little, Williams's character on The Wire — the gay stick-up man who robbed drug dealers while whistling the tune to Elmer Fudd's "A-Hunting We Will Go"— and memorable moments from his turn as Boardwalk Empire's Chalky White. Williams's co-stars, collaborators and friends posted tributes to the star who also appeared on Lovecraft Country and When They See Us — and, back in the day, was even a backup dancer for Madonna and George Michael.
Here are a few from The Wire's Wendell Pierce, When They See Us director Ava DuVernay and more:
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. pic.twitter.com/EvrESGSK8O
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) September 6, 2021
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A post shared by Ava DuVernay (@ava)
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A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee)
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A post shared by Niecy Nash (@niecynash1)
Damn. Just damn. Mr. Williams was such a Good, kind, wonderful man. He was so funny on Community and, of course, an actor for the ages. @BKBMGpic.twitter.com/bjPe2ZOvya
— Joel McHale (@joelmchale) September 6, 2021
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Niecy Nash was among those to circulate Williams's reaction to the death of Kobe Bryant in 2020, reposting his poignant words as he reflected on his own mortality:
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A post shared by Niecy Nash (@niecynash1)
One social reaction that wasn't well-received was from 50 Cent, who wrote: “Damn if you didn’t see Raising Kanan check it out that fentanyl is no joke, killing the clientele. RIP michael k. williams,” 50 wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.
He later posted again, referencing a past beef he had with Williams. He wrote of his controversial comments, “Don’t ever try to understand me I’m different. I don’t do all the fake love sh**.”
50cent is a wild dude pic.twitter.com/n5yKhxEZqG
— Woodz 🪶🇺🇸 (@Nibiru1000) September 7, 2021
Williams was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Lovecraft Country at the upcoming Emmy Awards on Sept. 19.
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