Reg E. Cathey: ‘The Wire’ and ‘House of Cards’ Star Dies Aged 59

February 10, 2018 Updated: February 10, 2018    

“House of Cards” actor Reg E. Cathey has died at the age of 59.

The American actor was reportedly battling lung cancer, according to TMZ. He died in New York surrounded by friends and family.

Baritone-voiced Cathey was best known for his role as Freddy Hayes, the owner of the barbecue restaurant in the Netflix political drama “House of Cards,” for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in 2015.

Netflix released a statement that read, “We are heartbroken by the passing of our friend and ‘House of Cards’ colleague Reg E. Cathey. Reg was the kindest man, the most giving actor, a true gentlemen. Our sympathy goes to his family.”

The Alabama-born actor also starred in shows such as “Law and Order,” “Grimm,” “30 Rock,” and in films including “Fantastic Four” and “S.W.A.T.”

Creator of “The Wire” David Simon paid tribute to the star late on Friday night, Feb. 9.

“Not only a fine, masterful actor—but simply one of the most delightful human beings with whom I ever shared some long days on set. On wit alone, he could double any man over and leave him thinking. Reg, your memory is a great blessing,” he wrote.

News of his death soon rippled through social media, with many of his former colleagues sharing messages of tributes for the star.

Samuel L. Jackson tweeted, “Shattered at the loss of Reg E. Cathey! Brilliant actor, humorist & friend! Irreplaceable! The ancestors about to be challenged!!”

“The Wire” actor Wendell Pierce wrote: “We lost a masterful actor, a sonorous voice, a great colleague, and a kind friend. A more gregarious human being you could not find. A man whose presence was always a blessing and joy. I’m hard pressed to remember a moment of anger. A beautiful human being who will be missed.”

Beau Willimon, creator of “House of Cards” described him as, “Brimming with life force, generosity, humor, gravitas and a fountain of talent.”

His first role was in the television movie “A Doctor’s Story” in 1984, having graduated from the University of Michigan and the Yale School of Drama.

(L-R) Renee Elise Goldsberry, Reg E. Cathey, Oprah Winfrey, George C. Wolfe, Richard Plepler, Rose Byrne and Lisa Arrindell at “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” premiere at the SVA Theater on April 18, 2017, in New York City. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

In 2009, he performed in London’s West End in a 2009 production of “The Shawshank Redemption” playing Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding.

In 2017, he starred in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” with Oprah Winfrey.

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