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Celebrities React To The Death Of Michael K. Williams

Michael Kenneth Williams, the beloved actor best known for his unforgettable performance as fearless stickup man Omar Little on the classic HBO crime series "The Wire," was found dead at his apartment in Brooklyn on Monday. He was 54.

Williams was an incredibly gifted actor who imbued the toughest, hardest characters with sensitivity. In addition to his iconic role on "The Wire," Williams was known for playing crime boss Chalky White on "Boardwalk Empire," Rikers Island shot-caller Freddy Knight on the limited series "The Night Of," and an enslaved man named Robert in "12 Years a Slave." He is currently up for an Emmy for his performance as conflicted, complicated father Montrose Freeman in "Lovecraft Country," his fifth Emmy nomination overall.

Michael K. Williams' tragic and unexpected death has provoked an outpouring of reactions from celebrities who worked with him, knew him, or were simply moved by his extraordinary performances. They shared tributes to the man they knew as a kind, thoughtful person who always gave back to his community.

Tributes from The Wire

"The Wire" creator David Simon, who is known for always having something to say, was rendered speechless by the enormity of Williams' loss. "Too gutted right now to say all that ought to be said," he tweeted. "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."

Some of Williams' "The Wire" co-stars shared moving tributes. Wendell Pierce, who played Det. Bunk Moreland, posted a long thread about how special Williams was. Pierce called Williams an "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."

Lance Reddick, who played Lt. Cedric Daniels, posted a video tribute and called Williams "One of the kindest, gentlest, most genuine, giving and courageous souls I've ever met."

"Shocked and saddened by the death of Michael K Williams," wrote Isiah Whitlock Jr., who played state senator Clay Davis. "One of the nicest brothers on the planet with the biggest heart. An amazing actor and soul."

'He burned so very bright'

Tributes came from people who knew Williams outside of "The Wire" as well.

"I feel punched in gut to learn we've lost Michael K Williams," wrote Edward Norton, who directed Williams in the film "Motherless Brooklyn." "Soul anguished. Getting to work with him was one of the greatest privileges I've had in my career. My admiration for his talent was boundless, like so many. If he was in a scene he was the best thing about it. Period. He had a really rare gift for being fully present in the moment & for conveying the layers under the words. He ran so deep. He was also kind & generously enthusiastic. I'll be forever grateful that he graced 'Motherless Brooklyn' & that I got to share space & time w him. RIP."

"Michael K. Williams was a god damn genius, a black queer icon who challenged the ideas of black masculinity at a time when it wasn't easy and a truly great dude. A huge loss," writer Travon Free tweeted. "Somebody tell God, Omar coming."

"Michael K Williams was a beautiful, passionate, expansive soul," actress and television personality Aisha Tyler wrote. "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. Rest in power, MKW. You will forever be The King."

Journalist Sage Young shared about the work Williams did to help young people. "I used to be on staff at one of the many organizations Michael K Williams supported, and he was the one celebrity you could always count to show up," she wrote. "He shared his time, talent, and spirit with those kids, and the impact of that cannot be overstated."