“Star Trek” actress Nichelle Nichols died on Sunday, according to a post shared by her son Kyle on her official Facebook page. She was 89.
“I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years,” he wrote.
“Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration.”
Nichols was known for playing Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on all three seasons of the original show, which ran from 1966-69. She also starred in each of the six “Star Trek” films from 1971 through 1991.
Kyle added in the post: “Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all. I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected.
He signed off with the signature “Star Trek” send off, “Live Long and Prosper.”
She earned accolades for breaking stereotypes for black actresses, with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. personally encouraging her to stay with the series. She met him at a civil rights gathering in 1967, at a point when she had decided not to return for the show’s second season.
He said, ‘You cannot do that,'” Nichols recalled. “You’ve changed the face of television forever, and therefore, you’ve changed the minds of people,” she said the civil rights leader told her.