David Mills, long-time collaborator of David Simon (The Wire, Treme), died Tuesday in New Orleans of a brain aneurysm. He was 48.
Mills was a writer and co-executive producer on Treme, Simon's upcoming HBO series about post-Katrina New Orleans and the city's irrepressible musical and cultural legacies.
"HBO is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our dear friend and colleague David Mills," the network said in a statement. "He was a gracious and humble man, and will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved him, as well as those who were aware of his immense talent. David has left us too soon but his brilliant work will live on."
Treme premieres April 11 on HBO.
Mills started his career as a newspaper feature reporter, writing for The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
He did the infamous 1992 Washington Post interview with rapper Sister Souljah during which she said that the black on white violence in the wake of the acquittal of white police officers in the beating of Rodney King was justified.
Mills' TV writing was distinguished by a spare, gritty style and a nuanced exploration of race relations. He honed his TV writing chops on groundbreaking police series including ABC's NYPD Blue and NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street. The latter series is where his television collaboration with Simon began.
He went on to write for Simon's The Corner and The Wire, both on HBO. He won two Emmys for his work on The Corner. He also created the 2003 NBC series Kingpin, about a drug trafficker. Additional TV credits include Picket Fences and ER.
Mills wrote two of Treme's episodes: numbers three and seven (with New Orleans musician/writer Davis Rogan). He joined Simon's team before the series got an official pick-up from HBO. And though Mills, a lover of 1970s funk, was new to New Orleans when production began, he was very quickly energized by the city's rich musical scene. His appreciation for music and his blunt writing style are evident on his Undercover Black Man blog. One of his final entries was a lengthy screed about President Obama's use of the personal pronoun "I" in the President's recent address to troops in Afghanistan.
Read it here.