'The Wire' star Michael K. Williams found dead in NY apartment

New York (AFP) –


US actor Michael K. Williams, who played Omar Little in the hit series "The Wire," has been found dead in a New York City apartment, police said Monday. He was 54.

"He is deceased in an apartment" in Brooklyn, Lieutenant John Grimpel of the New York Police Department told AFP.

The actor's representative said it was "with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams."

"They ask for your privacy while grieving this," said the statement from Marianna Shafran of Shafran PR.

No official cause of death was given but several US media quoted law enforcement sources as saying they suspected a possible drug overdose.

The Brooklyn native had been hailed for his role in HBO's "The Wire" in which he played an armed robber who specialized in holding up drug dealers in Baltimore.

The gritty crime thriller became one of the most popular shows on television and ran through five seasons from 2002 until 2008.

He was also well-known for the role of Albert 'Chalky' White on the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire."

Williams received Emmy award nominations for multiple roles, including this year for his turn in "Lovecraft Country" and also in 2015, when he played the husband of blues singer Bessie Smith in the film "Bessie."

He was also nominated for 2016's "The Night Of" and for "When They See US" in 2019, about a group of young Black men wrongly accused of rape in Central Park in the 1980s.

His role as Omar Little was enhanced by a facial scar Williams said he received during a New York street fight on his 25th birthday, when a man slashed him with a razor.

He told NPR in an interview the pronounced scar actually helped advance his career, as he climbed from being a back-up dancer in music videos for stars such as Madonna and George Michael to getting speaking roles playing rough characters in drama shows.