Michael K. Williams’ death was caused by an accidental drug overdose, according to New York City’s medical examiner. It was determined that his death was caused by “acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine,” the New York Times reported.
Williams was found dead at his Brooklyn, New York penthouse by family members on September 6. He was 54-years-old.
Williams had been open about the ups and downs of his drug addiction that has persisted before and after fame. Back in 2012, he told the Newark Star-Ledger continuing to use drugs after he rose to stardom was him “playing with fire.”
“It was just a matter of time before I got caught and my business ended up on the cover of a tabloid or I went to jail or, worse, I ended up dead,” he said. “When I look back on it now, I don’t know how I didn’t end up in a body bag.”
He said he got the ultimate wake up call when he met Barack Obama in 2008. When he met him, he was so high that he could barely respond to Obama when he told him The Wire was the best show on television and that he was his favorite actor.
“Hearing my name come out of his mouth woke me up,” he told the Times in 2017. “I realized that my work could actually make a difference.”
Throughout his career, he received five Emmy nominations and died two weeks before this year’s Emmys ceremony where he was nominated outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for his role in Lovecraft Country. When Kerry Washington took the stage to present the award, she gave Williams a heartfelt tribute.
“Michael was – crazy to say was – a brilliantly talented actor and a generous human being,” Washington said. “Michael, I know you’re here, because you wouldn’t miss this. Your excellence, your artistry will endure. We love you.”
He most recently starred in F is For Family, Boardwalk Empire, The Night Of, Bessie and When They See Us. His most critically acclaimed role was as Omar Little on HBO’s The Wire.