Robert F. Chew

Courtesy of HBO

Robert F. Chew, best known for playing Proposition Joe on HBO's critically acclaimed series The Wire, died on Jan. 17, in his hometown of Baltimore. Chew died of apparent heart failure in his sleep. He was 52.

In addition to his work on five seasons of The Wire, which was set in Baltimore, Chew was a teacher and mentored young actors at Baltimore's Arena Players.

"Robert was not only an exceptional actor, he was an essential part of the film and theater community in Baltimore," The Wire's creator David Simon tells The Baltimore Sun. "He could have gone to New York or Los Angeles and commanded a lot more work, but he loved the city as his home and chose to remain here working."

Chew appeared on Simon's other HBO project The Corner, as well as NBC's Homocide: Life on the Street, which was based on Simon's book.

Jamie Hector, Chew's former costar, tweeted, "I didn't want to believe this #RIP Robert F Chew, Prop Joe will always be remembered Robert Chew will always be loved and missed!"

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