Robert F. Chew, best known for his role on the hit HBO show The Wire, has died from heart failure, according to The Baltimore Sun. He was 52.
Chew, who played Proposition Joe on the cable show, passed away in his sleep on Thursday at his home in Baltimore, his sister Clarise Chew tells the paper.
His former co-star Michael Kenneth Wiliams Tweeted a message on Thursday saying, “R.I.P. to the talented Mr Robert Chew.” The message was retweeted almost 1,000 times and was met by shock and sadness from friends and fans.
“I didn’t want to believe this #RIP Robert F Chew,” The Wire‘s Jamie Hector wrote on Twitter. “Prop Joe will always be remembered Robert Chew will always be loved and missed!”
The show’s creator, David Simon, sent a lengthy email to The Baltimore Sun praising Chew’s work as an actor and his dedication to his community.
“Robert was not only an exceptional actor, he was an essential part of the film and theater community in Baltimore,” wrote David Simon. “He could have gone to New York or Los Angeles and commanded a lot more work, but he loved the city as his home and chose to remain here working.”
Chew, a member of the local Arena Players theater troupe, mentored children and aspiring actors, and even facilitated bringing a group of 22 young actors to play students on The Wire‘s fourth season.