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‘Star Trek’s Lieutenant Uhura dead at 89

Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on "Star Trek," has died at 89.

Trailblazer Nichelle Nichols, who played “Star Trek” communications officer Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in the 1960s TV show and shared one of television’s first interracial kisses with William Shatner, has died at 89.

Her son, Kyle Johnson, announced her death in a statement posted on her Facebook page. Family friend Sky Conway confirmed to USA TODAY that Nichols died Saturday evening in Silver City, New Mexico, calling her “truly transformational” and “an amazing person.”

“I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years,” Johnson wrote on Facebook. “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. 

“Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”

Nichols played Uhura on the original “Star Trek” TV series from 1966 to 1969 and reprised her role in six “Star Trek” films, starting with 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” She was widely praised for breaking down barriers in an era when Black women were rarely seen in prominent TV roles. 

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“I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle,” wrote Shatner on Twitter, who starred alongside Nichols in the original TV series. “She was a beautiful woman & played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world.”

Shatner said he “will certainly miss her” and sent his “love and condolences to her family.”

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