Just last week, the world was shaken by the loss of Michael K. Williams, best known for his starring role on HBO’s The Wire. The 54-year-old actor died of an apparent drug overdose, and was discovered in his New York apartment by his nephew.

Countless celebrities and fans have been sending their condolences to the family that Williams leaves behind and expressing the grief they feel at having lost one of their favourite actors.

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The most recent tribute to come from a friend of the late star was written by The Wire creator, David Simon. The message, shared in the New York Times, is incredibly poignant, and speaks to Williams’ incredible character.

In his post, Simon recalls a time when the actor approached him with concern that the HBO series was veering off its path of being a show written for Black audiences. The creator disregarded Williams’ points at the time, but he now realizes exactly where he went wrong.

“To Mike, at that moment, we were the white custodians of a rare majority-Black drama in the majority-white world of American television, and we might well be walking away from that unique responsibility,” he wrote.

Simons also shared that he was initially reluctant to cast Williams in the role of Omar, but his writing partner Ed Burns ultimately convinced him to make the decision.

“He gave us an astounding gift — an act of faith from a magnificent actor who could have played his hand very differently…Mike bent his beautiful mind to a task that even the best writers and show runners often avoid. He thought about the whole story, the whole of the work.”

He continued, “Perhaps more than any in that talented cast, I came to trust Mike to speak publicly to our drama and its purposes, to take personal pride in all that we were trying, however improbably, to build.”

Read Simon’s emotional tribute to his late friend below.