Michael K Williams Overdose – Omar From “The Wire”, Found Dead in Brooklyn

Michael K Williams Overdose

We all know that addiction exists, but sometimes it does not become real until it affects you, or someone close to you. Now, for anyone who is a fan of “The Wire”, or “Lovecraft Country” it is more real than ever.

Michael K Williams

Michael Kenneth Williams, 54, confirmed by a representative of his family, was found deceased from a suspected overdose, on September 6, 2021, in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York. 


Law enforcement officials mentioned to CNN that investigators found drug paraphernalia near Michael’s body. Although the investigation is ongoing, it is still a good example of how addiction can be deadly.


There are a variety of different movies that exist to try and explain the idea of addiction. Michael Williams stared in the movie, “Body Brokers”, a film about addiction and rehabilitation centers.


This movie is an explanation of how many addicts are exploited in their most vulnerable times. As one of the stars of the film, Michael K. Williams helps to share this story, but sadly, it was also his reality. 


Acting as a Career and Passion


Michael Keneth Williams was born on November 22, 1966. As an American actor, Michael is best known for his role as Omar Little on the HBO drama series “The Wire”. He also had a reoccurring role in “Boardwalk Empire”, and in an acclaimed role in the HBO telefilm “Bessie”. He played supporting roles in various other films and television series over the course of his lifetime. 

michael williams dead

Some of his most important moments were when he was nominated five times for Primetime Emmy Awards. Three were for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, and one was for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, along with one for an Outstanding Informational Series or Special.


Despite his major successes, Williams began his career as a dancer. Starting with concert tours of Madonna and George Michael, he eventually moved to the stage, and later to films such as  “The Road”, “Snitch”, “The Gambler”, “The Land”, “Assassin’s Creed”, “The Public” and “Motherless Brooklyn”. Other Tv credits include “When They See Us”, as well as “F Is for Family”.


Michael K Williams Overdose – What Happened?


Having openly struggled with addiction throughout his life, Michael K Williams fell to an untimely death by suspected overdose on September 6, 2021. It was a shock to the industry as he was found face down, dead, at around 2pm, in his Williamsburg apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Michael was only 54. 


Pronounced dead on the scene, a relative of Michael went to check on him when he did not arrive at a planned event on Friday night. When he discovered Michaels body, he called the police and stated there was a man who was “unresponsive’’ and “feels cold.’[1]


His longtime representative, Marianna Shafran, was able to confirm the death. They mentioned that the family was dealing with the “insurmountable loss,” of Michael. 


Although the official cause of death is officially unconfirmed (at the time of publication), according to the NYPD, there was drug paraphernalia found near his body. Additionally, according to the New York Post, heroin appeared to be on the kitchen table.


This did not come as a surprise, as he has been open regarding his struggles with substance abuse in the past.


Michael K Williams Overdose – Ties To His Most Recent Project (Body Brokers)


His most recent project, “Body Brokers” has an all too close tie to his untimely death. To grasp the concept of his recent movie, “Body Brokers” which premiered in early 2021, you must learn about those who prey upon the addicted.


The movie serves as a beacon of warning for anyone considering getting help. It is a great example of something called, “patient brokering.” Patient brokering is the act of praying upon those in rehab. An ideal victim is one who needs to go to treatment, but also who has good insurance. This insurance will ideally cover the cost of rehab. 


Michael K Williams dead and its ties to his roll in body brokers
Michael K Williams In Body Brokers


One moment the victim may believe that they are in rehab. They will believe that they are working to save their life. The next moment they might be persuaded to get high in rehab. In addition, they might get paid to push other people to join the rehab as well. This is the partnership between the “body brokers” and owners of these rehab centers. They are corrupt centers and go completely against everything treatment centers should stand for.

body brokers poster
Body Brokers Movie Poster

Essentially this is a form of healthcare fraud, and this movie staring Michael Williams calls this out. It calls out the owners of these terrible centers, and to help those who need help, stay away from them. Not all rehabilitation centers are created equal, and it is essential to find a good center that will work to create a treatment plan for you.


Michael’s Roles and the Effects on His Sobriety


Although Michael was extremely successful in his portrayal of roles in various productions, it took a toll on his mental health. For example, his role as Omar in “The Wire” was a character that he was recognized for more than himself. 


Omar – The Wire


In an interview, Michael one time mentioned, “Omar became an alter ego…a gay man who doesn’t like fancy clothes or fancy cars, doesn’t do drugs, doesn’t even curse, and robs the most gangster drug dealers in the community. He’s an outcast, and I identified with that immensely. Instead of using it as a tool to maybe heal myself, I hid behind that. Nobody was calling Michael in the streets. Everything was Omar, Omar, Omar. I mistook that admiration. It felt good. But it wasn’t for me. It was for a fictional character. When that show ended, along with that character, I was clueless about how to deal with that. I crumbled.”

omar from the wire, michael k williams overdose
Michael K Williams – Omar From “The Wire” Dead


Montrose Freeman – Lovecraft County


In another instance, it became clear that Michael became emotionally involved in his roles. In a SAG-AFTRA “Conversations at Home” interview in 2020, Williams showed this in regards to his role in “Lovecraft County” He explained how it deeply affected him and took him “on an emotional and mental roller coaster” that he was not prepared for. He also mentioned, “Thank God I had the cast and these amazing angels around me to hold me up.”


He later cried and it was obvious the toll that these roles took on his emotional health.


michael k williams overdose montrose freeman dead
Michael K Williams as Montrose Freeman Dead

Darkness and Light


Wiliams struggled with drug addiction and was open about this throughout his career. Growing up in East Flatbush in the ’70s and ’80s, the reality of living as a gay, black man in New York City was a lot to manage. After turning his reoccurring roles into a serious acting career, he, unfortunately, succumbed to his addiction. 


Michael K Williams Overdose – History of Addiction and Attempts to Get Help


In an interview with NPR back in 2016, he mentioned that he once stumbled into a church in New Jersey. He asked the pastor for help with his addiction. This was “around the … third season of ‘The Wire’ ”, and Williams said he was “broken”. 


The interview also reiterated the fact that he struggled with addiction. “I was on drugs,” Michael said. “…I was in jeopardy of destroying everything I had worked so hard for, and I came in those doors, and I met a man who had never even heard of ‘The Wire,’ much less watched it.’’


This was somewhat of a turning point and saving grace for Michael, but it was not enough. He should have sought out treatment. 


The Face of Addiction


The face of addiction is not black or white, gay or straight, man or woman, it is all of us. Addiction can impact anyone and everyone.


Regardless of where you are from, how much money you have, or how successful you are. The most important takeaway from the tragic death of Michael Kenneth Williams is that addiction is a disease that needs and deserves help. 


Without getting real help for addiction your chances of recovery are much lower. This is why you must visit an addiction treatment center that can design a tailored plan. This plan should involve short-term plans and long-term goals. It should contain an after-care program and a program to teach you how to handle triggers. Only a reputable treatment center can provide this. 


Michael Williams may have passed away, but his goals live on. His goals were to “end mass incarceration and to have more dialogue about how can we stop the government filling up jails with low-level, non-violent drug offenders and people with mental illnesses or addictions.” Williams always said, “those are health issues, not criminal.” 


The Reality of Addiction


Addiction and its relationship with mental health, is becoming an epidemic in the United States. If you are suffering from addiction, or struggling with your own mental health, you are not alone. There is help available to those who need it.


You do not need to walk through life without aid in getting sober and getting your life together.


Now, we can learn from Williams’ struggle with drug addiction. He found safety in his art, and this can be a legacy we can learn from. His role as Omar Little, displaying that being black and gay is beautiful. Hopefully, it can be a beacon for others to embrace themselves, and turn to help, rather than to addiction, in the face of darkness.

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