The Wire star Michael K Williams found dead in his New York apartment

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The Wire star Michael K Williams found dead in his New York apartment

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 the 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.