Nathan Barksdale, Who Inspired 'The Wire' Characters, Dies | NBC Connecticut

Nathan Barksdale, Who Inspired 'The Wire' Characters, Dies

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    FilmMagic
    In this file photo, the cast of The Wire Actors Andre Royo, Michael Michael Kostroff, Domenick Lombardozzi, Deirdre Lovejoy, Amy Ryan, Dominic West, Clarke Peters, Marlyne Afflack and Lance Reddick arrive to HBO's New York premiere of "The Wire" at Chelsea West Cinema in New York City on January 4, 2008. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic)

    A Baltimore drug kingpin who inspired characters on HBO's "The Wire" has died while serving a term in federal prison in North Carolina.

    Baltimore Health Department spokesman Sean Naron confirmed on Tuesday that 54-year-old Nathan Barksdale died in a medical prison in Butner. Naron did not know exactly when Barksdale died, or how. The death was first reported in The Baltimore Sun.

    Barksdale ran a heroin-dealing operation in Baltimore in the 1980s, and served 15 years in state prison on a battery charge. "The Wire" creator David Simon has said Barksdale served as inspiration for aspects of some of the show's characters.

    In recent years, Barksdale worked with Safe Streets, an anti-violence program run by the Health Department.

    In 2014, however, he pleaded guilty to participating in a drug conspiracy and was sentenced to four years.