Tributes have now flooded in for the actor, who was also known for his role as Albert “Chalky” White on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Lee, 64, shared a picture of himself and “my brother” together.
Underneath the image posted on Instagram he wrote on: “Our Brother Passed Away Today In His Home, Da People’s Republic Of Brooklyn. I’m Shook. Drinking A Bottle Of Italian Red Wine-Brunello Di Montalcino By Myself. Our Greats Are Leaving Us Left And Right. GOD BLESS.”
David Simon, creator of The Wire, also paid tribute to Williams.
He posted a picture of the actor to Twitter and wrote: “Too gutted right now to say all that ought to be said. Michael was a fine man and a rare talent and on our journey together he always deserved the best words. And today those words won’t come.”
Wendell Pierce, 57, starred alongside Williams on The Wire, playing Detective Bunk Moreland.
He wrote on Twitter: “The depth of my love for this brother can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss. An immensely talented man with the ability to give voice to the human condition portraying the lives of those whose humanity is seldom elevated until he sings their truth.”
Singer Mariah Carey shared pictures of her and Williams together, writing on Instagram: “A beautiful soul, a beautiful person, I’ll miss you always. Thank you for blessing us with your talent.”
Actress Kerry Washington also said: “So heartbroken. @bkbmg thank you for the beauty and joy you brought to the world. Sending love and prayers to your friends, family and everyone who adored you me included We adore you Sir.”
Actor Mark Wahlberg said: “RIP Michael K. Williams, so brilliant in #BoardwalkEmpire. You will be missed.”
In its statement, HBO described Williams’ death as an “immeasurable loss”.
The network said: “We are devastated to learn of the passing of Michael Kenneth 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.”