The New York City Office of Chief Medical examiner determined Michael K. Williams, the actor who played Omar Little on the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire died of a drug overdose after an autopsy.
According to the CME, Williams’ death was accidental and due to “acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin, and cocaine.” The actor was known to have struggled with drug addiction for years prior to his death. The autopsy confirms law enforcement’s earlier suspicions as drugs and paraphernalia were found in Williams’ following his death on September 6.
Williams is one of the latest and most prominent victims of an opioid epidemic that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives in recent years including over 90,000 in the year 2020 alone. The epidemic has been fueled in part by prescription opiates like OxyContin which many users get hooked on after a prescription for pain, only to turn to more potent and dangerous alternatives like heroin and fentanyl once their prescriptions run out.
The Sackler family, which owns the manufacturer of Oxycontin, Purdue Pharma, recently settled in a bankruptcy plan that would release the family from legal liability for the epidemic in exchange for $4.3 billion of the family’s fortune. The U.S. Department of Justice is currently seeking to block the settlement.
Just before his death, Williams was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role in HBO’s Lovecraft Country. In the last year, he has worked on the animated Netflix comedy, F is for Family and the film Body Brokers. He completed three other yet-unreleased projects before his death including Vital Signs, 892, and Surrounded.