US actor Michael K. Williams, one of television’s most memorable stars of recent years for his role as Omar Little in “The Wire,” has been found dead in his New York City apartment, police said Monday.
News of the death of the 54-year-old, who starred as the iconic Baltimore stick-up man in the groundbreaking television series, triggered an outpouring of grief among fans and former colleagues.
The actor’s representative said it was “with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams.”
“They ask for your privacy while grieving this,” said the statement from Marianna Shafran of Shafran PR.
An officer for the New York Police Department told AFP that Williams had been found dead in his apartment in Brooklyn by a family member.
The Brooklyn native had been widely hailed for his role in gritty thriller “The Wire,” in which he played a gay armed robber who specialized in holding up drug dealers.
The series became one of the most popular shows on television and ran through five seasons from 2002 until 2008.
Williams was also well-known for the role of Albert ‘Chalky’ White on the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”
He received multiple Emmy nominations for his work, including for his turn in the series “Lovecraft Country,” ahead of the 2021 ceremony that will take place in just under two weeks.
Williams was also nominated for his work playing the husband of blues singer Bessie Smith in the 2015 film “Bessie.”
He was additionally a nominee for 2016’s “The Night Of” and for “When They See US” in 2019, about a group of young Black men wrongly accused of rape in Central Park in the 1980s.
“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,” HBO said in a statement.
No official cause of death was given, but several US media quoted law enforcement sources as saying they suspected a possible drug overdose.
Williams had spoken openly of his past struggles with drug addiction, and had told US media that he had spent much of his earnings from “The Wire” on narcotics.
The NYPD told AFP the cause of death will be determined by a medical examiner.
– ‘Crushed’ – News of Williams’ death was met with grief among fans, many of whom considered him one of the most talented actors of his generation.
David Simon, the former Baltimore crime reporter who wrote the show, said on Twitter that he was “too gutted right now to say all that ought to be said.”
“Michael was a fine man and a rare talent and on our journey together he always deserved the best words. And today those words won’t come.”
Tray Chaney, who played a drug dealer on the show, said he was “crushed.”
“No words. I love you bro. RIP to the legend Michael K Williams aka one of the dopest Actors/Brothers in the world,” he said on Twitter.
Bestselling horror writer Stephen King tweeted: “Horrible, sad, and unbelievable to think we’ve lost the fantastically talented Michael K. Williams at the age of 54.”
Williams’ role as Omar Little was enhanced by a facial scar he said he received during a New York street fight on the night of his 25th birthday, when a man slashed him with a razor.
He told NPR in an interview the pronounced scar actually helped advance his career, as he climbed from being a back-up dancer in music videos for stars such as Madonna and George Michael to getting speaking roles playing rough characters in drama shows.
His first big onscreen break came when rapper Tupac Shakur was filming a movie in New York and cast Williams as his little brother after seeing a Polaroid picture of him.
He was then cast as a drug dealer in Martin Scorsese’s “Bringing Out the Dead,” before landing the role that would make his career in “The Wire,” written by Simon and ex-homicide detective Ed Burns.
His other film credits included “!2 Years a Slave,” “The Road” and “Gone Baby Gone.”
He also recalled the spousal support she provided to her late husband, adding that it was instrumental to the monumental success he recorded as Premier.
The Abia leader praised Lady Adanma for being “a model of good and excellent womanhood.”
According to him, the former First Lady was a fountain of knowledge from which most women, especially in Abia drew.
“Governor Ikpeazu notes with satisfaction that the now late Lady Adanma Okpara remained at her husband’s house in Umuegwu, Ohuhu, Umuahia and continued to play the role of a mother, grandmother and community leader till her final days,” the statement partly read.
“The Governor recalls with nostalgia the moments he spent with her and how passionate she remained about the use of the platform of government to better the lives of the people. She freely shared their experiences about the public service of the first republic.”
While assuring that the people of Abia State will always treasure her memories, just the way the memory of her late husband is being valued, the Ikpeazu stated that together, they left imperishable legacies.
He also commiserated with the first son of the family, Chief Uzodinma Okpara and indeed, the entire family on the “glorious passage of this truly great woman”.
The governor asked them to take pride in the solid legacies of their parents and be motivated to keep the flag of excellence in public service, hoisted by their parents, flying at full mast.
“The State Government, the Governor assures, will work closely with the family to ensure that she gets a burial befitting of the legacies she left behind.
New York police have arrested and charged a man in connection with the two-wheeler hit-and-run death of “Gone Girl” actress Lisa Banes, a force spokesman said Friday.
Brian Boyd, 26, was apprehended on Thursday and charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian and leaving the scene of a deadly accident, the spokesman told AFP.
Banes, who was visiting New York from Los Angeles, suffered a head trauma in the June 4 accident in Manhattan. She died in hospital ten days later.
The TV, Broadway and film actress was struck after Boyd allegedly ran a red light while Banes was attempting to cross the street near the Lincoln Center, a performing arts venue, on the Upper West Side.
The New York Police Department have yet to determine whether the suspect was riding an e-scooter or a motorcycle.
Banes’ wife, Kathryn Kranhold, had appealed for witnesses to find the driver.
Apart from the 2014 hit “Gone Girl,” Banes starred alongside Tom Cruise in the 1988 romantic comedy “Cocktail.”
Richard Donner, a prolific filmmaker who directed the first “Superman” movie, “The Goonies,” and other blockbuster hits, died on Monday at age 91, US media reported.
Donner’s other credits include the 1976 horror classic “The Omen,” the “Lethal Weapon” cop franchise with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover starting in 1987, “Scrooged” (1988) and his final movie in 2006, “16 Blocks.”
He also directed episodes of iconic 20th century television shows such as “Get Smart,” “Perry Mason,” “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Twilight Zone,” according to IMDB, and took on a producer role for blockbuster hits including “X-Men” and “Free Willy.”
The Hollywood Reporter cited Donner’s assistant in confirming his death, while Deadline said there was no cause of death revealed by Donner’s business manage or producer wife, Lauren Schuler Donner.
“Richard Donner had the biggest, boomiest voice you could imagine,” “Goonies” star Sean Astin said on Twitter.
“He commanded attention and he laughed like no man has ever laughed before. Dick was so much fun. What I perceived in him, as a 12 year old kid, is that he cared. I love how much he cared,” Astin tweeted about his time acting in the 1985 teen treasure hunt movie.
Fellow director Steven Spielberg, who wrote the story on which “The Goonies” was based, said in a statement that Donner had a “powerful command of his movies.”
“Being in his circle was akin to hanging out with your favorite coach, smartest professor, fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, staunchest ally, and — of course — the greatest Goonie of all,” Spielberg said in the statement tweeted by his production company Amblin.
Donner was born in the Bronx and grew up in New York before attending New York University and joining the US military, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The death toll in the US from the Covid-19 pandemic on Tuesday surpassed 600,000 according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, with President Joe Biden mourning the latest “sad milestone” and urging Americans to press on with vaccinations.
The United States has racked up by far the largest death toll of the pandemic, ahead of Brazil and India.
“There’s still too many lives being lost,” Biden said, noting that the daily number of dead has dropped sharply since the peak of the pandemic but that the continuing loss of life was still “a real tragedy.”
“My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one,” Biden said, speaking on Monday in Brussels as the tally ticked close to 600,000.
“We have more work to do to beat this virus. And now’s not the time to let our guard down. Please get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
The massive vaccination campaign has been pushed by US health authorities since the authorization of the first vaccines in December, and peaked in April, with up to more than four million shots a day.
But the pace has slowed rapidly since then, and unvaccinated people still remain vulnerable to the disease.
Just over 52 percent of the US population, or 174 million people, have already received at least one dose of one of the three vaccines authorized in the country, according to health officials.
Biden has set a goal of 70 percent of adults to have received at least one shot by the national holiday of July 4, but the program may fall short of that goal.
At least 39 people were killed in two new attacks in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where hundreds have died in massacres since the start of the year, monitors said on Monday.
“At least 20 civilians were killed overnight in the village of Boga and at least 19 in the village of Tchabi,” in Irumu territory in Ituri province, the Kivu Security Tracker (KST) group said, as a local civil society leader blamed a notorious militia, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
At least ten people have been killed by bandits during an attack and counter-attacks at two villages in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The gunmen according to the Kaduna State Commissioner for internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan invaded Naiko village in Giwa local government and engaged the community volunteers in a gun duel, which led to the death of three residents of the community.
Aruwan explained that in a reaction to the killings, youths of Na’ikko village attacked a nearby Fulani settlement, Rugan Abdulmuminu and killed two persons whom they alleged to be involved in the initial attack.
In another incident, armed bandits invaded Dakyauro village of Sabon Birni in Igabi LGA and killed four persons after rustling about 25 cows.
Similarly, a community leader, Dauda Adamu has been killed by bandits at Ungwan Ayaba in Chikun local government area.
Meanwhile, Governor Nasir El-Rufai has expressed sadness over the attacks that led to the death of some people.
The governor while condoling with the families of all who lost their lives in the attacks, also wished those injured a speedy recovery.
El-Rufai noted with deep concern the incidents in Na’ikko village in Giwa LGA, appealing to the residents to embrace recourse to the law and avoid killings and reprisal actions that would prove utterly detrimental to peace in the area.
He assured farmers in Giwa, Igabi, Birnin Gwari, Kajuru and Chikun local government areas of the state government’s awareness of their plight, stating that his administration is taking active steps towards ensuring that they will continue to pursue their livelihoods in safety.
On the security challenges in Kaduna, the state government asked private schools operating in high-risk areas to adhere to the security advisories issued to them. This followed reports that some schools have continued to operate outside of the guidelines presented to them by the security agencies for the safety of their students and staff.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has mourned the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, describing his death as shocking.
Attahiru and seven top military officers were killed on Friday when a military Beechcraft 350 aircraft crashed at the Kaduna International Airport.
Reacting, Governor Bello described the death of the COAS as a “colossal loss to Nigeria particularly at such a time when the country was confronting numerous insecurity challenges in different parts of the country.”
According to a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Muhammed Onogwu, the governor said the ill-fated plane crash while on an official assignment to Kaduna.
While commiserating with the family, friends and associates of the late COAS, Bello described “Lt. General Attahiru as a hero who gave his all to the service of his fatherland and similarly died while attending to his duties.”
At least 15 people died Saturday after a landslide at a clandestine artisanal gold mine in Guinea’s northeast Siguiri region, rescuers and witnesses said.
A rock overhang collapsed near the village of Tatakourou according to first telephoned reports from the area which did not clearly establish whether the victims had been crushed by falling rock above the mine or buried inside the facility.
A Red Cross official on site said on condition of anonymity at least 15 people had been killed but did not rule out that others had been buried at the mine entrance.
Sinaman Traore, a gold panner at the mine, said he had seen volunteers rescue two colleagues.
“This situation in the Siguiri mines concerns all of us — at the end of the day these landslides are more deadly than the Covid-19 pandemic,” said police capitain Mamadou Niare after arriving at the scene.
The country’s Covid-19 death toll to Saturday stood at 149 but recent years have seen a spate of accidents at artisanal mines, particularly around Siguiri near the border with Mali, a region where more than 20,000 panners are officially active.
At least 17 clandestine miners were killed in a landslide in February 2019 and another dozen nine months later.
Despite the country boasting rich deposits of minerals such as bauxite, diamonds and gold the bulk of the population faces a daily struggle to survive with the UN estimating around one two live below the poverty line.
The search for gold riches attracts clandestine miners from Mali, Senegal and several other West African neighbours.
Former Minister of Women Affairs of Nigeria, Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba is dead.
Her media aide, Bala Maina, confirmed the incident to Channels Television via the telephone on Friday.
The ex-minister was said to have passed away at an undisclosed hospital in Cairo, Egypt.
She was 61 years old.
Al-Hassan was appointed the Minister of Women Affairs by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
She, however, resigned her position on July 27, 2018 and thereafter dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the United Democratic Party (UDP) where she emerged as the party’s governorship candidate in the 2019 general elections in Taraba State.
The ex-Minister however lost to the incumbent, Governor Darius Ishaku who ran for a second term in office under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Prior to her ministerial appointment, Al-Hassan was a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria representing the Taraba North Senatorial District under the PDP.
Governor of Taraba State, Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku reacted to Alhassan’s death on Friday.
He said he received the news with deep shock.
Gov Ishaku described Aisha Alhassan as a woman of great courage, noting that her death was a personal loss for him.
He said he and Alhassan had enjoyed a robust political relationship and had kept in touch even while both of them contested for the same seat of Governor of Taraba State from different political platforms in 2015 and 2019.
A press statement by the Governor’s media aide Bala Dan-Abu described Alhassan as an asset, one which death has robbed Taraba State and Nigeria of.
He added that as minister of Women Affairs, Alhassan contributed immensely towards social and political emancipation of women.
He urged her family to take solace in the fact that Alhassan lived a life of service to humanity and prayed God to grant her soul eternal rest.