Michael K. Williams' Cause of Death Revealed

More than two weeks after actor Michael K. Williams unexpectedly passed at the age of 54, his cause and manner of death has been confirmed by the New York City Chief Medical Examiner.

By McKenna Aiello Sep 24, 2021 8:14 PMTags
Watch: Celebrities Pay Tribute to Late "The Wire" Star Michael K. Williams

Michael K. Williams' cause of death has been determined. 

The actor, whose Sept. 6, 2021 passing sent shockwaves across Hollywood, died from a drug overdose. On Friday, Sept. 24, the New York City of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed to E! News that he succumbed to acute intoxication from the "combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine." 

Williams' manner of death is listed as accidental. The OCME declined to comment further on the investigation. 

The 54-year-old Lovecraft Country star was discovered deceased inside his home on the afternoon of Sept. 6, just two weeks before he was set to attend the 2021 Emmys in honor of his nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. While the trophy ultimately went to The Crown's Tobias Menzies, who dedicated his Emmy win to the late actor, presenter Kerry Washington took a moment during the ceremony to recognize the "brilliantly talented" Williams. 

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"Michael was—so crazy to say, was—a brilliantly talented actor and a generous human being who has left us far too soon," Washington said. "Michael, your excellence and artistry will endure. We love you. I know you are here because you wouldn't miss it."

Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for ABA

Williams' struggles with substance abuse were well documented prior to his passing. In a 2020 interview with Men's HealthThe Wire star spoke candidly about turning to drugs as an adolescent and relapsing after shooting the first season of Lovecraft Country

Williams said that as a teen, he was "plagued" by his sensitive personality, explaining, "It was one of the things that led me to attempt suicide. I was 17. I was lost. I was very awkward with the ladies. Drugs were there. And I was already self-medicating. And I just got lost. I just remember feeling like, 'Eh, maybe the world will be better off without me.' And I took a bottle of pills, woke up to my stomach being pumped." 

Decades later, while working to maintain his sobriety, Williams said playing Montrose Freeman in Lovecraft Country "woke up a lot of demons," which led him to enter therapy. 

"You know," Williams explained at the time, "as people of color in Hollywood, entertainment, a lot of times we don't pay attention to the fact that we sell trauma. Some of our most wanting work is rooted—most of the time—in pain and trauma."

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