Nathan Barksdale, inspiration for 'The Wire,' dies at 54

Top 10 HBO Shows of All Time
Top 10 HBO Shows of All Time


Nathan Barksdale, the gang leader who was an inspiration for HBO's "The Wire," has died at age 54.

Barksdale passed away from an unspecified illness while in a federal prison in North Carolina Saturday, The Baltimore Sun reported the news Tuesday.

Barksdale is the subject matter of the documentary "Baltimore Chronicles: Legends of the Unwired," which purports to tell the true story behind the stories David Simon created on "The Wire."

Also Read:'The Wire' Stars Stage a Stealth Reunion in Prius Super Bowl Ad (Video)

The drug kingpin ran a dangerous heroin operation in Baltimore in the 1980s.

In 1987, Simon wrote a series called "Easy Money: Anatomy of a Drug Empire" for the Baltimore Sun, where he worked at the time. Barksdale was mentioned in the articles, and one of the characters on "The Wire" is named Avon Barksdale (played by Wood Harris).

The real-life Barksdale worked with Baltimore's anti-violence Safe Streets program, but was arrested and pleaded guilty in 2014 to a conspiracy involving heroin and members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang.

Also Read:Melvin Williams, Inspiration for 'The Wire,' Dead at 73

While Simon has contested that any one person inspired "The Wire," he has said on DVD commentary that at least some names of characters were an homage to Barksdale and other real life Baltimore characters.

Read original story Nathan Barksdale, Inspiration for 'The Wire,' Dies at 54 At TheWrap

Photos from "The Wire" on HBO:



More on AOL.com
George Gaynes, 'Police Academy' and 'Punky Brewster' actor, dies at 98
'Bachelor' alum Lex McAllister dead at 31
Vanessa Hudgens under investigation for allegedly defacing Sedona Red Rock