"I’ve been thinking about my own mortality lately," wrote Williams, who died Monday at age 54. "I don’t know if it’s the recent death of my first love and first heartbreak or watching my hero ,my rock ,my mom get older every day knowing that at 93 her time here won’t be as long as it’s been maybe all of the above. It all has me wondering how will I go? Will I die alone? How will I be remembered and what will be my legacy. I may not have known every nook and cranny of Kobe’s career but the two things I did learn from watching him is that we are not what we do for living and that focus, hard work and dedication are the seeds of success. Most Importantly his untimely passing has reminded me of how fragile life is. I believe I read somewhere in a Chinese proverb 'whenever u have the chance to watch the sunset’ take it, it might be ur last” I do this because it reminds me how fast time goes, if u don’t believe me just watch the last 60 seconds of one . I’m tired of wasting time worrying about what people think of me, self doubt and fear, I’d rather trade all that in for a purpose driven life cause from where I sat in the bleachers that’s exactly what it looked like he had."
Michael K. Williams landed his iconic The Wire role after he was rejected for HBO's Oz: Although Oz casting director Alexa Fogel rejected Williams for a small role, she remembered him years later when she was casting The Wire. “He made an impression,” Fogel said. “I knew I wanted to see him again.” Williams auditioned for Omar Little, the stickup artist who was intended to appear in six to seven episodes before meeting his demise. Executive producer Ed Burns, a longtime Baltimore homicide detective, originally questioned whether Williams was up for the role after watching him awkwardly handle a prop shotgun. Williams once confessed to me that he had felt intimidated by all the great actors on the show, and sometimes wondered if he could hold his own among them. But Williams gave Omar death, resulting in him appearing in all five seasons of The Wire.
Los Angeles Times photographed Williams for an Emmy-timed photo shoot just three weeks ago: "Jesse Dittmar photographed Williams for that Times article at the actor’s Brooklyn home just three weeks ago," writes The Times' Craig Nakano. "The pictures capture how Williams could convey so much with a simple tilt of the head, a gesture of the hand or a deep, persistent gaze — painful reminders that we’ve lost one of the great ensemble actors of our time. We’re sharing some of those photos here as a tribute to his talent and also his graciousness. For journalists covering Hollywood, subjects who are collegial, who are thoughtful, who really want to answer questions fully can be all too rare."
Watch Williams' tribute to rapper DMX at the BET Awards in June: “X and I were both from the dirty, dirty mean streets of New York City. We survived those streets,” Williams told Variety on the red carpet. “We have a similar background story personally. And I’ve always looked up to him as an artist, as an emcee. He paved the way for me to be honest with you, there was Tupac Shakur and there was DMX. Those two men, what they brought to Hollywood, made it possible for someone like me to be here today.”
Paul Reubens pays tribute to his good friend Williams: "Getting to know him, he was everything I’d hoped he might be—funny, serious, deep, sensitive and joyful," Reubens tweeted of becoming pals with the actor after working on a movie together in 2008. "He was absolutely beautiful inside and out. He loved to dance. And, that insanely gorgeous smile he had."
Dan Harmon recalls Williams' guest stint on Community: "I am sorry if I’m the source of this news for anyone reading this but Michael K. Williams has left our ridiculous world," he wrote on Instagram. "I don’t know what to say. Sympathies to his loved ones and everyone that got to work with him. Here he is defending humanity by defending the pinky swear on Community. Wherever he is, I hope Legos are simple again. I hope to join him there and write more silly things for him to say."