Michael K. Williams Dead at 54: The Wire's Wendell Pierce, Spike Lee, Joel McHale, More Pay Tribute
"It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams," a rep for Williams told PEOPLE. "They ask for your privacy while grieving this unsurmountable loss."
The current Emmy Award nominee, who was 54 at the time of his death, is being memorialized across social media. Friends, fans and collaborators have posted tributes to the beloved actor, who was known for his roles in The Wire, When They See Us and Lovecraft Country.
Spike Lee, who directed Williams in the 2008 film Miracle at St. Anna, was one of many who paid tribute to the late actor. "Whew Lawd, Dis Is A Tough Day-1st We Lose The Great French Actor JEAN PAUL BELMONDO And Now My Brother MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS," he wrote, posting a photo of himself and Williams cheering on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
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"Our Brother Passed Away Today In His Home, Da People's Republic Of Brooklyn. I'm Shook. Drinking A Bottle Of Italian Red Wine-Brunello Di Montalcino By Myself," Lee continued. "Our Greats Are Leaving Us Left And Right. GOD BLESS."
Joel McHale, with whom Williams appeared in season 3 of Community, also honored Williams on social media. "Damn. Just damn. Mr. Williams was such a Good, kind, wonderful man. He was so funny on Community and, of course, an actor for the ages," wrote McHale.
Colman Domingo admitted that he didn't know his Miracle at St. Anna and Time Out of Mind costar well, but he always admired him. "Truly gutted on hearing the passing of Michael K. Williams. A tremendous actor," he wrote on Twitter.
"Two ships. Never said much. Smiled at each other at a brunch, then on the set of Time Out of Mind as I wrapped and he started, then cast opposite the man and then because of my schedule could not pursue. Never shared the space fully and that guts me. I admired him. Rest Michael," Domingo added in another tweet.
Williams' The Wire costar Wendell Pierce penned an emotional tribute. "The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss. A[n] 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," wrote Pierce, with whom Williams also starred in I Think I Love My Wife (2007).
"If you don't know, you better ask somebody. His name was Michael K. Williams. He shared with me his secret fears then stepped out into his acting with true courage, acting in the face of fear, not in the absence of it. It took me years to learn what Michael had in abundance," Pierce added.
Aunjanue Ellis, who starred with Williams in last year's Lovecraft Country, shared a short but heartfelt tribute. "MKW 4Ever. My heart screams," she wrote.
Orlando Jones, who also appeared with Williams in I Think I Love My Wife, mused on Williams' death. "Rest in Power Michael K Williams. Prayers Up. Spirits shook. Pain immense. Keep your head up family. We'll pull through but first let's give this black man every last one of his [flower emojis]. Hold on to the ones you [heart emojis]," wrote Jones.
The Wire guest star Isiah Whitlock Jr. took to Twitter with his own tribute. "Shocked and saddened by the death of Michael K Williams. One of the nicest brothers on the planet with the biggest heart. An amazing actor and soul. May you RIP. God bless," wrote Whitlock Jr., who also appeared with Williams in the 2009 film Brooklyn's Finest.
"Michael K Williams… a talent beyond words and a truly beautiful soul, sending you peace and love wherever you may be x," Williams' Boardwalk Empire costar Stephen Graham wrote.
Other celebrities who admired Williams' many memorable performances also paid tribute.
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"This one hurts," wrote White Lotus actress Natasha Rothwell. "This is heartbreaking to learn. We have lost an enormous talent in Michael K. Williams," George Takei wrote. "Horrible, sad, and unbelievable to think we've lost the fantastically talented Michael K. Williams at the age of 54," Stephen King posted. "Jean-Paul Belmondo and Michael K. Williams in the same day…man, what loss," wrote Elijah Wood.