Michael K. Williams lost his life to “acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine,” according to the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Deadline reports. The overdose has been rule accidental. He was 54.

The Emmy-nominated actor, who mentored many of his fellow performers, was found dead in his New York City apartment on September 6.  His death was met with an outpouring of love and empathy from his fans and colleagues. He was given a touching tribute by Kerry Washington at the 2021 Emmys

An officer from the New York City police Department reported that an investigation into his death would be launched. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine, but is 50 to 100 times more potent.” 

They reported that “In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses.” Fentanyl can be ingested without the knowledge of the person consuming it because according to the Center For Disease Control,  the substance “can be found in combination with heroin, counterfeit pills, and cocaine.” 

There has been a significant rise in opioid overdoses in the United States in recent years causing the situation to be declared a public health crisis. 

The cause of death in the Williams case has been widely speculated about on social media since his passing. 

Many in the entertainment industry including 2 Chainz and Tiffany Haddish have attempted to warn the public about the potentially lethal effects of fentanyl.  2 Chainz held a “fent free,” themed birthday party to raise awareness about the issue. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with Williams’ family and loved ones at this time. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, you can contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). 


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