This article is from the archive of our partner .

Donnie Andrews, the man who inspired the stickup artist Omar Little on HBO's seminal show about Baltimore, died of heart complications Thursday, Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun reported. Before he was known as the real life version of the popular character, Andrews was a drug dealer and robber in Baltimore, but he turned himself into homicide detective Edward Burns after he committed a murder for a drug dealer. Burns, who would eventually go on to be one of the co-creators of The Wire with his writing partner David Simon, had him wear a wiretap to help implicate members of a crime ring. Simon initially met Andrews in his context as reporter, and according to a 2007 New York Times profile of Andrews and his wife Fran Boyd, called Andrews "regularly to get the background story on each day’s crime news." 

Andrews had a small role on The Wire as a member of Omar's crew and was a writer for the show, Fenton reported. He recently created a nonprofit called Why Murder?, which involved counseling inner city youth in Baltimore. 

You can read an interview with Andrews here and watch him being interviewed below: 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to