The 54-year-old was discovered unconscious and face-down in the living room of his Williamsburg apartment by his nephew on Monday afternoon, a law enforcement source told The New York Post.
A doorman subsequently called 911 claiming Williams was ‘unresponsive’ and ‘felt cold’.
Williams’ nephew went around to the apartment complex to check up on the star, who reportedly hadn’t been heard from in several days.
Heroin was said to be found on the star’s kitchen table, and drug paraphernalia was allegedly discovered elsewhere in the apartment.
Williams was best known for his role in the hit HBO series The Wire, which ran from 2002 to 2008.
However, he also won praise for his role in last year’s drama, Lovecraft Country for which he is currently nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Williams shot to international fame playing gay stick-up man Omar Little in The Wire.
HBO released a statement following news of Williams death, which read: ‘We are devastated to learn of the passing of Michael K. Williams, a member of the HBO family for more than 20 years.
While the world is aware of his immense talents as an artist, we knew Michael as a dear friend who was beloved by all who had the privilege to work with him.
We send our deepest condolences to his family for this immeasurable loss.’
Williams is survived by an adult son named Elijah.
Williams was born in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and spent he spent his childhood in the projects surrounded by drugs and violence.
As a young boy, he was sexually molested.
He told The New York Times that that experience left him confused about his own sexuality and caused him to be withdrawn.
On the eve of his 25th birthday, in 1991, Williams attempted to intervene when a group of muggers jumped one of his friends.
One of the assailants pulled out a knife and slashed him, leaving him with a long, distinctive scar down the front of his face and neck.
Williams eventually enrolled in New York City’s National Black Theatre, and kickstarted his career as a dancer, scoring parts in music videos by Madonna and George Michael.
Williams made his film debut in 1996, appearing alongside Tupac Shakur in the film Bullet.