Michael K. Williams, Actor Known for The Wire and Lovecraft Country, Dead at 54
Michael Kenneth Williams, an actor known for his roles in The Wire, Boardwalk Empire and Lovecraft Country, has died. He was 54.
The five-time Emmy Award nominee was found dead Monday afternoon at around 2 p.m. in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, a source from the NYPD tells PEOPLE. Williams’ nephew discovered his body in the living room.
“It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams,” a rep for Williams tells PEOPLE. “They ask for your privacy while grieving this unsurmountable loss.”
Although the cause of death has not yet been determined, drug paraphernalia was found in the apartment, according to the New York Post.
A separate law enforcement source tells PEOPLE that Williams died of a suspected overdose and that officials believe he may have had heroin laced with fentanyl.
Williams has been open about his struggles with drug dependency in the past. Raised in the Vanderveer Projects of the East Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn, he was exposed to crime at an early age and developed a drug addiction in his teens.
“Montrose was different. He didn’t have the freedom Omar had or the confidence. He comes from such a broken place,” he said in October 2020. “I just ,had to find my own pain and my own trauma chichi was a very painful experience for me.
All the generational pain that had been passed down through my own personal experiences, I had to dig deep down in that for Montrose.”
“I would hope that after watching Lovecraft, people walk away with this understanding of the beauty and necessity of a father-son relationship in the Black community,” Williams shared. “Black fathers have been ripped away from their sons for so many years, mine included.
That was the main thing that attracted me to this to this role was the opportunity to play dad to that amazing Jonathan Majors and for us to explore what father and son bonding looks like and how we can rebuild that and treasure it.
There’s an absence of the Black male in our community for a lot of reasons and some of it isn’t our fault but the need is there. It’s a beautiful thing to look at. I hope Montrose will remind us how much little Black boys need their fathers.”
“We are so conditioned to mask our pain as Black men in America. We’re not allowed to cry, we’re not allowed to be vulnerable. We’re not allowed to be soft. I hope that Montrose will at least open up a conversation for Black men in America,” he added.