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Friends and fellow artists pay tribute to Michael K. Williams

By Marianne Garvey, CNN

Following Michael K. Williams’ sudden passing, his friends, fellow actors and directors are paying tribute to the talented star.

“The Wire” creator David Simon wrote in on Twitter that he was “gutted.” Williams played Omar on the classic HBO series.

“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,” Simon wrote.

Wendell Pierce, who starred with Williams in “The Wire” as Detective Bunk Moreland, wrote, “The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss. A 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. 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.”

He continued: “He was proud of the artist he had become, asking for my advice long after he had surpassed any incite I could have shared, Always truthful, never inauthentic. The kindest of persons. Like two mischievous kids, we would laugh & joke whenever we would meet. Like Baltimore years ago, THE WIRE brought us together and immortalized Omar & Bunk in that ‘scene’ on a park bench. But for us we aimed to take that moment in time together and say something about Black men. Our struggle with ourselves, internally, and each other. For me & Mike we had nothing but respect. So to you, my brother Mike, there is a small comfort that I know, you knew how much we loved you.”

Williams was found dead at his home in Brooklyn on Monday. He was 54.

Mariah Carey wrote on Instagram, “A beautiful soul, a beautiful person, I’ll miss you always. Thank you for blessing us with your talent.”

Comedian Jay Pharoah wrote, “Lord my heart hurts on this one😰, RIP @bkbmg , I can’t believe I’m typing this just saw him a few weeks ago. Did my first movie w/him…one of the nicest, talented, and mosy humble folks you could ever meet the man cooked for us when we’re staying in Miami at the Mutiny..all around good man and such a diverse actor it was beautiful to witness your star rise..sleep well homie.”

Director Ava DuVernay, who worked with Williams on “When They See Us,” wrote a loving tribute on Instagram.

“I remember the times you’d come on set even when you weren’t on the call sheet. Just to share a hug. To cheer us on. Strolling in like the King that you were. For just a flash to give some love — then gone. I remember nights out in NYC that summer and how you were so loved by the folks in your city. I remember our work on the work, always connected and communicating and excavating and building because you were so open and ready to give your all. I remember you sending me a picture of yourself as a young man and sharing with me that the boys whose story we were telling were a reflection of you — and we were going to get it right,” Duvernay wrote.

Spike Lee posted a picture of the two at a basketbvall game, writing, “Mike And I At Da Garden Cheering On Da Orange And Blue. Photo By James Devaney. Whew Lawd,Dis Is A Tough Day-1st We Lose The Great French Actor JEAN PAUL BELMONDO And Now My Brother MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS. 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. Our Greats Are Leaving Us Left And Right. GOD BLESS.”

Giancarlo Esposito wrote on Instagram, “I have never met a more loving, caring, beautiful human being. A true friend and thespian. I will forever miss you my dear brother. Godspeed.”

Viola Davis wrote, “No! So sad. Man do I wish this were a different ending. Rest well.”

“Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones worked with Williams on 2016’s “Ghostbusters,” saying, “He was so nice to me when we did ghostbusters and we bonded on many levels!! Damn I was just thinking the next time I saw him I was gonna tell him how dope of an actor he is. Damn y’all we lost a good one. Rest in love my brother.”

Isiah Whitlock Jr. wrote, “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.”

Aisha Tyler wrote, “Michael K Williams was a beautiful, passionate, expansive soul. 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.”

Niecy Nash, who worked with Williams on “When They See Us,” took to social media to write, “You were a beautiful soul, a kind spirit & a good time… a talent beyond measure. Thank you for the many times we traded energy and you made me feel like family. You left us too soon… Praying for your loved ones.”

Jesse Collins, who worked with Williams on the DMX tribute at the 2021 BET Awards, wrote: “Honored to work with you on the DMX tribute. Thank u for all that u gave us. REST IN POWER!.”

James Gunn wrote, “Michael K Williams, in addition to being one of the most talented actors around, was also one of the kindest, sweetest, most gentle souls I’ve ever met. This is heartbreaking. My thoughts are with all those who loved him.”

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