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Michael K. Williams died from accidental overdose: medical examiner

Michael K. Williams is seen in his award show look for the 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on March
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New York City’s chief medical examiner said Friday that an autopsy revealed actor Michael K. Williams’s death earlier this month was the result of an accidental overdose. 

The medical examiner confirmed to The Hill that the performer best known for his role on the hit television drama “The Wire” had fentanyl, parafluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine in his system when he died. 

The office added that it was not planning to release any additional details on the investigation. 

Authorities had previously said that the 54-year-old was found dead on Sept. 6 by his nephew in the living room of his Brooklyn apartment. 

Police at the time noted that they suspected Williams had overdosed, but this was not officially confirmed until the autopsy’s findings were released by the medical examiner’s office Friday. 

Williams participated in numerous acting projects over the years, including with starring role in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” from 2010 to 2014 and appearances in films including “12 Years a Slave,” and “Assassin’s Creed.”

He was nominated for an Emmy award this year for the supporting actor in a drama series category for his role in HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” but lost Sunday to Tobias Menzies, who portrayed Prince Phillip on Netflix’s “The Crown.” 

Williams has for years been open about his struggles with drug addiction, which he had said continued after he rose to stardom for his role as Omar Little on “The Wire.” 

In a 2012 interview with the Newark Star-Ledger, Williams said he was “playing with fire” with his drug use. 

“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 at the time. “When I look back on it now, I don’t know how I didn’t end up in a body bag.”

News of Williams’s death prompted an outpouring of messages on social media from both fans and fellow Hollywood actors, with his “Wire” co-star Wendell Pierce tweeting that his friend was an “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.” 

“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,” Pierce added.

Tags drug overdoses Fentanyl Michael K. Williams New York New York City overdose overdose deaths The Wire

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