Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols has passed away at the age of 89.
Her son, Kyle Johnson, announced his mother had ‘succumbed to natural causes’ on Saturday night.
‘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 posted to his mother’s official Facebook page on Sunday.
‘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.
Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols has passed away at the age of 89; pictured 2017
Her son, Kyle Johnson, announced his mother had ‘succumbed to natural causes’ on Saturday night; Nichols pictured on Star Trek
‘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.’
Kyle signed off on the tribute with the iconic Star Trek slogan, ‘Live long and prosper.’
Nichols became one of the nation’s first black women to star in a primetime show after being cast in 1966 as Nyota Uhura on Star Trek.
Nichols became one of the nation’s first black women to star in a primetime show after being cast in 1966 as Nyota Uhura on Star Trek
Nichols entered showbusiness at age 16 and sang with legendary Duke Ellington before later switching to acting.
Her break-the-mold tendencies expanded beyond the screen and into space science. She volunteered with NASA from 1977 to 2015 to promote diversity in the recruiting of women and minority astronauts. The initiative led to the recruitment of Dr. Sally Ride, the nation’s first women astronaut.
As an actress, Nichols played a key role in inspiring black children to enter showbusiness, and reportedly earned the praise of Martin Luther King Jr. Following her 70-episode run with the Star Trek series, she continued to star in box office sequels and lesser-known films.
Nichols’ contribution to the film industry earned her a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992. She also received a life career award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in 2016, becoming the first woman to be bestowed with the honor.