Kerry Washington Pays Tribute to Late Michael K. Williams at 2021 Emmys: 'Left Us Far Too Soon'

Michael K. Williams, who was nominated Sunday for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for his role in Lovecraft Country, was discovered dead in his Brooklyn apartment on Sept. 6

Kerry Washington is honoring late actor Michael K. Williams at the Emmy Awards less than one month after his death.

On Sunday, the Scandal star, 44, paid tribute to Williams while presenting the award for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series, for which Williams was nominated for his role in HBO's Lovecraft Country. Williams death occured after the voting period for the 2021 Emmys.

"The nominees for this next award astounded us with each of their uniquely remarkable, memorable performances this past year. But I would like to take a moment to mention one nominee in particular, Michael K. Williams," Washington began her presentation. "Michael was — it's crazy to say Michael was — a brilliantly talented actor and a generous human being who has left us far too soon."

The actor, known for his roles in The Wire, Boardwalk Empire and Lovecraft Country, was found dead on Sept. 6 in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, a source from the NYPD told PEOPLE. Williams' nephew discovered his body in the living room.

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Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams. Amy Sussman/FilmMagic

"Michael, I know you're here because you wouldn't miss this. Your excellence, your artistry will endure, we love you," she concludes, before announcing Tobias Menzies as the winner of the award.

Washington appeared with Williams in the 2007 film I Think I Love My Wife as well as Spike Lee's 2008 movie Miracle at St. Anna.

The actress honored Williams earlier this month with a heartfelt Instagram tribute.

"So heartbroken. @bkbmg thank you for the beauty and joy you brought to the world. Sending love and prayers to your friends, family and everyone who adored you 🙏🏾 me included ❤️ We adore you Sir," she captioned the post.

Williams' breakout role came in 2002, when he portrayed Omar Little in HBO's The Wire. The role has been lauded over the years for its complex depiction of a gay Black man with a reputation as a ruthless criminal in the streets of Baltimore.

Over the years, Williams has appeared in such shows as Law & Order, The Sopranos, Alias, Boardwalk Empire, Community and When They See Us. He's also had roles in movies like Gone Baby Gone, The Incredible Hulk, 12 Years a Slave, Inherent Vice and the 2016 Ghostbusters.

Most recently, Williams delivered another acclaimed performance in HBO's Lovecraft Country, which earned him his fifth Emmy nomination in July.

The 73rd Emmy Awards, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, are airing live from 8-11 p.m. ET on CBS.

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