Nichelle Nichols, who played the iconic Lieutenant Uhura, on Star Trek died on Saturday, according to a statement from her son, Kyle Johnson. She was 89 years old.

“Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away,” the statement read. “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.”


Many of her famous costars took to social media with heartwarming tributes to the actress.


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“I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle,” a statement from William Shatner read. “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. I will certainly miss her.”

Nichols was known as a trailblazer for black women in the film industry. She played a notable character on primetime in the late 1960s, and also shared one of the first interracial kisses on television with Shatner.

 “I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89,” George Takei wrote. “For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among.”

Martin Luther King Jr. once complimented Nichols’ role on the famed show as “the first non-stereotypical role portrayed by a black woman in television history,” but her influence stretched beyond the screen.

After her time on Star Trek, Nichols spent years working with NASA and advocating for diversity in the space program.

“[Nichols] was an inspiration to many, not just for her groundbreaking work on Star Trek but but also through her work with NASA to recruit women and people of color to apply to become astronauts,” a tribute from the National Air and Space Museum said.

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