image sourceReutersimage captionMichael K Williams had openly discussed his struggles with drugs over the years
American actor Michael K Williams, best known for starring in HBO drama The Wire, has been found dead in his New York apartment. He was 54.
US media quote law enforcement sources as saying he died from a suspected drug overdose. This has not been officially confirmed.
Williams – who was nominated for three Emmy Awards – had openly discussed his struggles with drugs over the years.
In The Wire, he played Omar Little, a streetwise robber of drug gangs.
He was also known for playing Albert "Chalky" White in the Boardwalk Empire TV series.
New York Police Department spokesman John Grimpel said police went to Williams' Brooklyn apartment after receiving an emergency call at 14:00 local time on Monday (18:00 GMT).
Tributes have started to pour from fellow actors and filmmakers.
"The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss," The Wire co-star Wendell Pierce tweeted.
"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," Pierce said.
Rest in Peace Michael K. Williams. Gone far too soon. A man that taught me so much. Thank you for your wisdom. pic.twitter.com/qoOKxdnErF
— Damson Idris (@DamsonIdris) September 6, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
"This is heartbreaking to learn. We have lost an enormous talent in Michael K Williams," tweeted Star Trek actor George Takei.
Filmmaker James Gunn described Williams as being among the "most gentle souls I've ever met".
"Rest in Peace Michael K. Williams. Gone far too soon. A man that taught me so much. Thank you for your wisdom," said British actor Damson Idris.
In a statement, HBO TV network – which aired The Wire in 2002-08 – said: "We are devastated to learn of the passing of Michael Kenneth Williams, a member of the HBO family for more than 20 years.
"While the world is aware of his immense talents as an artist, we knew Michael as a dear friend who was beloved by all who had the privilege to work with him. We send our deepest condolences to his family for this immeasurable loss."
Born in New York in 1966, Williams started his career as a dancer and performed with Madonna and George Michael before moving into acting, with companies including the prestigious National Black Theatre Company.
In a BBC interview in 2018, Williams explained why The Wire – which ran on HBO in 2002-08 – was such a successful series.
"I think it has just stayed with people because it's still relevant now, because of the climate of what's going on in the United States. I think it's actually a little sad."
"It was the first show I saw that was created as what I call 'edutainment'.
"It dived so honestly into what was wrong in our society, from the police department to our lawmakers to our school system, and the media. It represented what was happening in our community," Williams said.