The death of Michael K. Williams is absolutely shocking, to say the least. According to CNN, police officials say Williams was found dead in his apartment the afternoon of Monday, September 6, 2021. At the age of 54, he has left his friends, family, and countless fans grieving his loss.
Williams’ sister, Michelle Chambers, released a statement saying, “Our family has been shaken to the core of the loss of our Mike. Thank you to everyone who contacted us, flooded us with love, and more importantly, prayers. I will miss my brother, my best friend, and my 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.“ It’s absolutely devastating to wrap our minds around the fact that he’s really gone.
As we mourn this loss, now is also the time to celebrate some of the high points of his career. Williams was considered a versatile actor, born and raised in New York City. He successfully brought a level of compassion and depth to every role he took on through the course of his decades-long career.
Michael K. Williams most memorable roles
Williams’s role as Omar in The Wire was a major breakout that his fans haven’t forgotten. The notable series ran for five seasons, premiering with its first episode in 2002. Williams portrayed an openly gay character who financed his life by robbing drug dealers and functioning on the wrong side of the law. According to ScreenRant, The Wire is considered one of the best TV shows of all time for covering a broad range of issues without ever losing its original vision.
Lovecraft Country is one of the more recent roles we watched Williams star in as Montrose Freeman. Unfortunately, Lovecraft Country was canceled before receiving a Season 3 renewal, but Williams’s work on the show is partially what led fans to petition so heavily for it to continue. The character of Freeman was a victim of the Tulsa Massacre from 1921 and because of that, he struggled with self-acceptance and identity issues stemming from his childhood. Williams revealed to People Magazine that he relied on some of his own real-life drama while filming Lovecraft Country.
Williams starred in a drama series called Hap and Leonard for three seasons beginning in 2016. He played one-half of the titular role, Leonard Pine, opposite James Purefoy who played Hap Collins. The storyline is based on a series of novels written by Joe R. Lansdale and it focuses on the story of an ex-convict who did his part as an activist in the 60s, yet finds himself down on his luck after getting fired from his job. He joins forces with his best bud, an openly gay Vietnam war veteran who’s a perfect match for him when it comes to embarking on their various adventures.
Boardwalk Empire is another unforgettable role for Williams. The drama, which premiered in 2010, ran for five seasons. Based in Atlantic City during the era of Prohibition, Boardwalk Empire tells a story of a politician who lives a double life as a gangster. Williams played the role of Chalky White in the show, a racketeer who unofficially led the African-American community in his city.
2017’s Night Of from HBO is a role that brought Williams massive respect. In this excellent limited series, he played an inmate on Rikers Island and did such an impressive job taking on the persona that he was nominated for an Emmy award. What makes Night Of such a binge-worthy crime series is that it focuses on the political and cultural overtones of a murder case in New York City, and it does tread lightly around the heavy subject matter.
It’s also important to mention Bullet, another notable role for Williams from 1996. In this movie, he plays the role of Tupac’s brother. He even revealed to the New York Times the reason he was chosen for the part. Before Tupac passed away, he saw a headshot of Williams and knew right away that it was Williams he wanted to see playing the role of his brother on the big screen at some point in time. Tupac’s request was honored.
How the world is reacting to Williams’ death
Michael K. Williams fans and friends alike are heartbroken and devastated by this loss that seems to have happened out of nowhere. Because of this, lots of people are speaking out and posting tributes. This highly emotional moment has caused the people closest to him to open up and express what they’re feeling. Taraji P. Henson posted a heartfelt video with a caption saying, “Rest well my friend. Jesus!!! You will be missed deeply.”
Isaiah Whitlock Jr. tweeted, “Shocked and saddened by the death of Michael K. Williams. One of the nicest brothers on the planet with the biggest heart. An amazing actor and soul. May you RIP. God bless.“
Aisha Tyler took to Twitter to express how she’s feeling as well. She posted a black-and-white still shot of the late actor with a caption saying, “Michael K. Williams was a beautiful, passionate, expansive soul. I felt so lucky to have known him, and we were also fortunate to have enjoyed his incredible talent. He burned so very bright. Rest in power, MKW. He will forever be the king.”
Michael K. Williams is undoubtedly going to be missed by all the people who knew him while he was alive and those who simply appreciated his work as a talented actor.