American actress Nichelle Nichols died on Saturday at the age of 89.
Kyle Johnson, Nichols’ son, confirmed her death and said she died of natural causes on Saturday night.
“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,” Johnson said.
US President Joe Biden paid his tribute to Nichol in a statement from the White House.
“In Nichelle Nichols, our nation has lost a trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women… She shattered stereotypes to become the first Black woman to act in a major role on a primetime television show with her groundbreaking portrayal of Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek. With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries,” Biden said.
Nichols was best known for her role as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in the sci-fi television series “Star Trek” and is one of the first Black actresses in the US to play an authoritative figure.
NASA later employed Nichols in 1978 to encourage more women and African-Americans to become astronauts.
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