Michael K. Williams Dead: Celebrities React – VIBE.com

Public tributes poured out for Michael K. Williams from his peers following news of his death on Monday (Sept. 6). The actor was found unresponsive by his nephew in his Brooklyn apartment. Williams’ sudden passing at age 56 was confirmed by his publicist, Marianna Shafran, who issued the following statement:

“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.”

Among those who honored Williams through social media were his castmates and crew on The Wire. The acclaimed fictional series served as Williams’ breakout role as he starred as Omar Little in the HBO series.

“The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss,” wrote Wendell Pierce on Twitter. “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 continued, “THE WIRE brought us together and immortalized Omar & Bunk in that ‘scene’ on a park bench.But for us we aimed to take that moment in time together and say something about Black men. Our struggle with ourselves, internally, and each other. For me & Mike we had nothing but respect.”

Cast of 'The Wire'

L–R: Andre Royo, J. D. Williams, Sonja Sohn, Jamie Hector, Wendell Pierce, Lance Reddick, Michael K. Williams, and Glynn Turman of The Wire at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Feb. 23, 2020.
Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection

Williams’ The Wire castmates Isiah Whitlock Jr., Tray Chaney, Domenick Lombardoozi, and creator David Simon also shared heartfelt messages online.

“I can’t… I’m crushed. No words. I love you bro,” wrote Chaney. “RIP to the legend Michael K Williams aka one of the dopest Actors/Brother in the world. #Omar #TheWIRE FOR LIFE. I’m off the grid for a while hard to process this one. I love you bro smh damn.”

“Shocked and saddened by the death of Michael K Williams,” expressed Whitlock Jr. “One of the nicest brothers on the planet with the biggest heart. An amazing actor and soul. May you RIP. God bless.”

Lombardozzi tweeted, “Michael K Williams I knew was kind. Fair. Gentle. And super f**king talented. I’ll cherish our talks and I’ll miss him tremendously. My deepest condolences to the Williams family. Rest my friend.”

Simon shared an image of Williams in a standalone tweet and added, “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.”

More tributes for the Brooklyn native came from people who worked with Williams, in addition to those who had not, but were fans of his work and inspired by his talent.

“Michael K Williams was a beautiful, passionate, expansive soul,” wrote actress Aisha Tyler. “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.”

“I met Michael K. Williams about 8 years ago when I was still a background actor and man was he cool,” shared Batwoman star Camrus Johnson. “He’s been one of the black actors I’ve been able to look up to ever since, and I can’t believe he’s gone already. We lost another one dang. Rest In peace.”

Director Spike Lee shared a touching Instagram post in Williams’ honor. “Our Greats Are Leaving Us Left And Right. GOD BLESS,” he wrote in an initial upload, sharing a photo of the two men enjoying a New York Knicks game courtside. In a follow-up post, Lee shared a video of Williams exclaiming his love for his hometown of Brooklyn.

“Let’s Celebrate Our Artistic Soldier MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS. We Have Lost Too, Too Many Of Our Sista’s And Brotha’s Too, Too Early. Blessings, Prayers And Condolences To His Family. GOD BLESS,” wrote Lee.

“Michael worked hard in his work and throughout his life. He shared with us all how hard he tried to achieve sustained sobriety. I know Michael, the man, would want his life to serve as an important, teachable lesson for anyone who is in the midst of the very real struggle against addiction. As difficult as this moment is for us all, Michael has found peace,” wrote Courtney B. Vance on Instagram.

He continued, “He was a GIANT of a man! Only my faith sustains me in times like these. And Michael LOVED the Lord. I sent him our Scriptures every day and he responded every day. JESUS!!!! Michael, you will always be remembered by so many for your gifts as an actor but even more importantly, you will be remembered for being an amazing, kind man. I love you, my brother. Rest in Peace.”

Ava DuVernay shared memories of her time working with Michael K. Williams on the groundbreaking miniseries When They See Us. 

“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,” she recalled.

Her post continued, “I remember our work on the work, always connected and communicating and excavating [sic] 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. I remember you taking the young actors to the beach on your own and talking to them about things I couldn’t – about being a young, Black man in New York at the time – and how grateful I was.”

Williams is survived by his mother, Paula Williams, his brother, Paul Carey, and his nephew, Dominic Dupont. View a full round-up of tributes to the late actor below:

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