Spike Lee confirmed the passing of actor Bill Nunn over the weekend. Nunn was 62 years old.
According to the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, the actor succumbed to a long battle with leukemia.
In an Instagram post, Lee told fans Nunn died at home Sept. 24 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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My Dear Friend, My Dear Morehouse Brother- Da Great Actor Bill Nunn As Most Of You Know Him As Radio Raheem Passed Away This Morning In His Hometown Of Pittsburgh. Long Live Bill NUNN. RADIO RAHEEM Is Now RESTING IN POWER. RADIO RAHEEM WILL ALWAYS BE FIGHTING DA POWERS DAT BE. MAY GOD WATCH OVER BILL NUNN.
“Long Live Bill NUNN,” the acclaimed director wrote Saturday. “RADIO RAHEEM Is Now RESTING IN POWER. RADIO RAHEEM WILL ALWAYS BE FIGHTING DA POWERS DAT BE. MAY GOD WATCH OVER BILL NUNN.”
Both Lee and Nunn attended Morehouse College in Atlanta. The director cast Nunn in his 1988 film School Daze.
However, after playing Radio Raheem in Lee’s film Do The Right Thing the following year, it became Nunn’s best-known role.
Nunn went on to star in two other Lee movies – Mo’ Better Blues and He Got Game. Other notable movie credits include Sister Act, New Jack City and the Spider-Man trilogy.
In addition to his work on the big screen, Nunn also had a theatre career.
He founded the Pittsburgh-based Bill Nunn Theatre Outreach Project in 2008. According to the non-profit’s Facebook page, his goal was to “nurture theatrical professionalism among young actors and to inspire a love of theatre and creative expression among urban youth.”
Nunn’s last role was as a paramedic on the TV show “Sirens.”
Since news of Nunn’s passing broke, many Hollywood stars shared their condolences online.
Audra McDonald, who starred with the veteran actor in A Raisin in the Sun, said she was “heartbroken.”
Heartbroken to hear of Bill Nunn's passing. He was a gem of a man and I loved working with and getting to know him. 💔 RIP
— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) September 24, 2016
Nunn’s New Jack City co-star Wesley Snipes tweeted, “Rest in power, my brother.”
— WS (@wesleysnipes) September 25, 2016
Hip-hop artist and social activist Talib Kweli said the late actor “brought his best to every role.”
RIP Bill Nunn. Incredible actor, brought his best to every role…. https://t.co/nmZ90rMFE0
— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) September 24, 2016
Wendell Pierce praised Nunn for “showing the humanity of young Black men.”
As an artist, Bill Nunn will always be remembered for showing the humanity of young Black men, while others prejudge us as suspect. RIP
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) September 24, 2016
Meanwhile, “Empire” star Grace Byers shared her memories of Nunn in Sister Act.
Will never 4get when I 1st saw Bill Nunn (Sister Act). His powerful walk – into a jog – resulting in an epic punch of the mole. #RIPBillNunn
— Grace Byers 🇰🇾 (@LadyGraceByers) September 25, 2016
Questlove shared an image of Nunn’s Radio Raheem character.
And Sherri Shepherd noted Nunn “will always be Radio Raheem to me.”
— Sherri Shepherd (@SherriEShepherd) September 24, 2016