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Reg E Cathey who starred in popular US television dramas The Wire and House of Cards has died at the age of 59.

The American actor was reported to have had lung cancer, although a cause of death has not been announced.

Deep-voiced Cathey won widespread praise for his role as Freddy – the owner of the BBQ restaurant favoured by the character Frank Underwood in House of Cards – including an Emmy award for best guest actor in 2015.

Image:Cathey and the cast of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

In seasons four and five of The Wire, he played Norman Wilson, the deputy campaign manager for the ambitious mayoral Tommy Carcetti.

Cathey also collaborated with The Wire creator David Simon on the Emmy award-winning miniseries The Corner.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Reg E. Cathey, winner of the award for guest actor in a drama for 'House of Cards,' poses in the press room during the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Image:Cathey and his Emmy in 2015

He also had roles in several other TV shows such as Law and Order and 30 Rock, and in movies like Fantastic Four and S.W.A.T.

Cathey's former colleagues have paid tribute to him on Twitter.

Simon wrote: "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."

The Wire star 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.

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 pic.twitter.com/PiwDy0kVFC

— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) February 10, 2018

#RIP Reg E. Cathey
As Guildenstern, with Kevin Kline as Hamlet & Philip Goodwin as Rosencrantz in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Hamlet
Photo: Martha Swope, 1990@NYPL digital collection@AoDespairpic.twitter.com/DYmBwvssyx

— Deny Fear (@dean_frey) February 10, 2018

Reg Cathey, 1958-2018. 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. pic.twitter.com/OHEUbAhTg0

— David Simon (@AoDespair) February 9, 2018

"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."

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

Shattered at the loss of Reg E. Cathey! Brilliant actor, humorist & friend! Irreplaceable! The ancestors about to be challenged!!

— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) February 10, 2018

In 2017, Cathey starred in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks alongside Oprah Winfrey.

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The film was nominated for the Emmy for outstanding television movie that year.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Actor Reg E. Cathey attends 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' premiere at SVA Theater on April 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Image:Colleagues called him 'a fine, masterful actor' and a 'delightful human being'

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