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Melvin Williams, an actor on The Wire, who was the inspiration to the show’s premise, has passed away at the age of 73.

The actor, whose nickname was ‘Little Melvin,’ was a former drug kingpin in the 1960’s before his story became the inspiration for The Wire in his post-prison redemption.

The Baltimore Sun first reported the news of his death. Williams, who passed away at the University of Maryland Medical Center, formerly ruled the illegal drug trade along Pennsylvania Avenue.

There are no details just yet on the cause of his death, but The Wire‘s creator, David Simon, sent some out a tribute to Williams.

Our condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Melvin Williams.


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