RIP to Melvin "Little Melvin" Williams, 73, who made me begin to rethink the drug war. You ended it free, brother. pic.twitter.com/UjtshQAmzz
— David Simon (@AoDespair) December 3, 2015
The soft spoken Baltimore drug dealer who portrayed the Deacon in HBO's hit TV series "The Wire" has died.
"Little" Melvin Williams passed away on Thursday after losing his battle with cancer.
Williams's family confirmed his death to The Baltimore Sun. He was 73.
Williams was the inspiration for the drug kingpin Avon Barksdale (played by Wood Harris).
Williams also had a small role in "The Wire," a series created by David Simon.
Born in Baltimore, Williams ruled a drug empire that moved more heroin than any other drug dealer in West Baltimore.
He was eventually arrested in 1984 by retired Detective Ed Burns, who later went on to be a key writer of "The Wire."
After his release from prison, Simon approached him about taking the part of The Deacon in several episodes of seasons 3 and 4 of "The Wire."