January 27, 2023

Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols has died aged 89.

Her son, Kyle Johnson, announced on Saturday night that his mother “succumbed to natural causes.”

“I am sorry to inform you that there is no longer a great light for us as it has for so many years,” he posted on his mother’s official Facebook page on Sunday.

“Last night my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. However, its light, like the ancient galaxies now seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from and be inspired by.

Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols has died aged 89; pictured 2017

Her son, Kyle Johnson, announced Saturday night that his mother had “succumbed to natural causes”; Nichols pictured on Star Trek

“Her life was a life well lived and as such an example to all of us.

“I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we mourn her loss until we can recover enough to speak further. Her services are for family members and the best of her friends and we ask that her and our privacy be respected.”

Kyle signed the tribute with the iconic Star Trek slogan “Live long and prosper.”

Nichols became one of the first black women in the country to star in a primetime show after being cast as Nyota Uhura on Star Trek in 1966.

Nichols entered show business at the age of 16, singing with the legendary Duke Ellington before later transitioning to acting.

Her break-the-mold tendencies expanded beyond the screen and into space science. She volunteered at NASA from 1977 to 2015 to promote diversity in the recruitment of minority women and astronauts. The initiative led to the recruitment of Dr. Sally Ride, the country’s first female astronaut.

As an actress, Nichols played a key role in inspiring black children to get into show business, reportedly earning the praise of Martin Luther King Jr. After her 70-episode run with the Star Trek series, she continued to star in blockbuster 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 lifetime award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in 2016, making her the first woman to receive the honour.