Jurnee Smollett took to Instagram to pay tribute to her former “Lovecraft County” co-star, Michael K. Williams, on the day of his funeral, September 15th.
Sharing a number of photos from the set of their HBO series, Smollett began her post by writing, “My brother, my heart hurts so. Part of my brain refuses to believe it…sh–tty part about grief-it goes in stages.”
“When [her brother Jake Smollett] called to tell me, my brain went ‘hell naw that’s not true, let me call Michael.’ And I called him. I called him over & over until my brain said stop, he’s gone,” she continued. “I couldn’t breathe. Taken awhile for my brain to metabolize how the world can continue to spin w/out him here in the physical form.”
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Williams, who was 54 at the time of his death, was supposed to be in Los Angeles this week with the rest of the “Lovecraft County” cast for the Emmy Awards. The show received 18 Emmy nominations, including a Drama Supporting Actor nod for Williams’ performance as Montrose Freeman. Smollett is also up for Drama Actress, while Jonathan Majors is up for Actor.
“We were gonna dance, celebrate, cry. Instead our brother was laid to rest today. I still can’t make sense of it,” Smollett continued. “Perhaps it’s selfish of me to want to hold onto this beautiful man that came into my life & forever changed it…”
The actress then shared some stories from the set of the series, recalling her connection with her late costar while filming the death scene for Courtney B. Vance’s Uncle George in the second episode.
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“I could feel the pain held behind his eyes, my soul understood it. That’s the beauty of MKW’s instrument. He threw his entire being into each moment [with] such bravery and sacrifice. Thats all I needed… simply look in Michael/ Montrose’s eyes,” she said.
“After finishing the scene, Courtney came over, held Jonathan, Michael & I as we cried in each other’s arms like babies … No, like the sons & daughter of such familiar, profound paternal grief,” she added.
“We became the three musketeers afterwards. Our souls tied. We joked that we had a trans-physical connection.”
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The 34-year-old actress said that she would forever associate listening to music from Raphael Saadiq and Jimmy Lee,or a Deepak Chopra meditation with her former costar.
“I take comfort in knowing that you’re finally free, somewhere dancing, being mighty, showing the angels how to really get it. Btw-You still owe me that dance…& our Bulls Jerseys. I love you,” the actress concluded.
On September 6th, TMZ reported that Williams had passed away due to a suspected drug overdose in his Brooklyn apartment. The overdose has triggered a criminal investigation after drug paraphernalia was found near the scene of the incident.
In addition to his work on “Lovecraft,” Williams was also known and celebrated for his work in “The Wire”, “Boardwalk Empire” and “12 Years A Slave.”