The latest social media post from New York City actor Michael K. Williams was a ghostly harbinger, begging fans not to cry over him.
Six days before Williams was found dead Monday in his Brooklyn penthouse of a suspected heroin overdose, the 54-year-old HBO star of ‘The Wire’ posted a video to Instagram of Tracy Morgan after Morgan’s near-fatal limousine crash in 2014.
In the video, Morgan said, “Don’t cry for me. Okay, I was in an accident. Don’t cry for me. Cry for everyone else, man.’
This comes just under seven months since the beloved actor said he began therapy after filming HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” on the Feb. 25 Tamron Hall Show and talked about the ongoing journey to recovery.
“I just started therapy, you know, and I took that really seriously and started, as you said, unpacking the critic in my head and what and how that my — my actions, my reactions to certain situations, my relationships influenced,” Williams said.
Michael K. Williams said he began therapy after filming the HBO series “Lovecraft Country” on the Feb. 25 Tamron Hall Show and spoke about the ongoing journey to recovery.
Last year Williams played Montrose Freeman in the HBO series ‘Lovecraft Country’ (pictured). He was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role
Williams is survived by an adult son named Elijah (left) and was last linked to actress Tasha Smith (right)
At the time, he promoted the movie “Body Brokers,” which delves into the shady underbelly of a posh Malibu drug treatment facility.
His role in the film, he said, is a “perfect” way of portraying how “people often think that once someone leaves the drugs or alcohol, all the problems go away.”
“That couldn’t be further from the truth. Drugs and alcohol are not the problems, they are just symptoms of the problem. And once those things are gone, the real work begins.”
On Monday, Williams’ cousin Arvance Williams told DailyMail.com that his famous uncle was excited to fly to Los Angeles in less than two weeks to attend the Emmys.
He was nominated for the award for his role in last year’s HBO drama series “Lovecraft Country,” for which he was a favorite to win the award.
“I was just with him. I just bought him some fabric so he can go to the Emmys to put under his blazer. He just got nominated for an Emmy and he’s going to LA, so he was really excited about that,” Arvance Williams told DailyMail.com.
“You know him as the actor, we know him as Uncle Mike. We love him.
‘My uncle was such a sweet person. He played many of the characters as mean and gangster. It was a joke, because he wasn’t like that at all. Hw was a sweetheart. … A very gentle, gentle person. And I’m just looking at what he was doing [on screen] and I’d just laugh, because that’s not him at all.’
By late afternoon, several of Williams’ cousins were seen outside the apartment complex. One of the men, Arvance Williams, called his uncle’s death ‘heartbreaking’
Another cousin, Booker T. Williams (wearing glasses), was seen hugging a friend outside the apartment complex
Williams was best known for his role in ‘The Wire’, which ran from 2002 to 2008. More recently, Williams has received acclaim for his role in last year’s drama ‘Lovecraft Country’, for which he was a favorite to win the award. .
HBO said in a statement following the news of Williams’ death: “We are devastated to learn that Michael K. Williams, a member of the HBO family for over 20 years, has passed away.”
New York’s next mayor calls Williams death a ‘terrible tragedy’
Eric Adams, the next mayor of New York City and fellow Brooklynite, tweeted about Williams’ death.
‘It is a terrible tragedy. I was so proud to know Michael K. Williams and even more proud to call him a friend.
“May he rest in peace, and may he continue to inspire and conquer the hearts of all who looked up to him, as I did.”
“While the world is aware of his immense talents as an artist, we have known Michael as a dear friend loved by all who had the privilege of working with him. We extend our deepest condolences to his family for this immense loss.”
Williams is survived by an adult son named Elijah.
The star was last linked to actress Tasha Smith, who last shared a photo of herself with Williams late last year.
Williams was born in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and spent his childhood in projects surrounded by drugs and violence.
As a young boy he was sexually abused. He told The New York Times that that experience confused him about his own sexuality and caused him to withdraw.
Williams eventually enrolled in the National Black Theater in New York City and began his career as a dancer, scoring parts in Madonna and George Michael music videos.
On the eve of his 25th birthday, in 1991, Williams tried to intervene when a group of robbers jumped one of his friends.
One of the attackers drew a knife and cut him, leaving a long, distinctive scar on the front of his face and neck.
Williams said that changed the trajectory of his career.
“Things changed immediately after that,” Michael Williams told NPR during an interview in 2014.
“The directors didn’t want me to dance alone in the videos anymore. They wanted me to play these thug roles, you know, like – Mike, roll these – roll these dice in this video. Fight this fight in this video. I was like, okay.’
Michael Williams’ iconic scar was from defending his friends during a brawl at a ‘popping’ Queens party for his 25th birthday
“There was a blast going on in Queens. I went out to get some air, and I saw that two of my other friends were surrounded by some guys I didn’t know.
“And it looked like they were about to be pounced. And I said, “Yo, I’m ready to leave. Let’s go back. I’m going back home now.”
“But this one guy kept pacing behind me. He kept walking behind me. He kept on like, you know, like sucking his teeth, and I look – I’m like, “Yo – so what’s up man? Yo bro, what’s your problem?”
“And the dude wiped his hand over his mouth and just gave me – what I thought it looked like – to hit me, but what he did was he spit a razor.
“He put the razor in his mouth to get between his middle and ring fingers, and then he just went — wiped me across my face, and this cut my face.
“It was actually the first goal of the fight. So we managed to escape with our lives that night.’
Then he got his part in his debut film ‘Bullet’ in 1996 when he starred alongside Tupac Shakur. popped up
Three years later, he played a drug dealer in Martin Scorsese’s “Bringing Out the Dead.” He also got a brief cameo on the HBO hit show “The Sopranos.”
However, in 2002, he landed the definitive role for his career playing Omar Little in ‘The Wire’.
Williams was open about his struggle with drug addiction. Since the age of 19 he went in and out of clinics to receive treatment.
During his years filming “The Wire,” Williams relapsed. In 2005, he entered a church in New Jersey to seek help with his drug problem.
“When I came through those doors, I was broken. … This was, I would say, around the … third season of The Wire,” Williams told National Public Radio in 2016.
‘I was on drugs. … I threatened to destroy everything I had worked so hard for,” he declared.
Williams struggled to stay sober during the remaining years he filmed the show. He recalled meeting Obama while high on cocaine at a campaign rally around the time the show ended in 2008.
“When I heard my name come out of his mouth, I woke up,” Williams recalled in an interview with The New York Times. ‘I realized that my work could really make a difference.’
The star of The Wire, actor Michael K. Williams, has been found dead in his New York City apartment. Williams can be seen above as Omar Little from The Wire
Williams can be seen alongside co-star Dominic West in The Wire
Despite his ongoing battle with drugs, Williams enjoyed continued success after the end of “The Wire.”
From 2010 to 2014, he played Chalky White on ‘Boardwalk Empire’. He also appeared in such films as ’12 Years A Slave’, ‘Inherent Vice’ and ‘Motherless Brooklyn’.
In 2019, he returned to the small screen, starring in the Netflix miniseries “When They See Us,” which earned him another Emmy nod.