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Star Trek Star Nichelle Nichols Has Died At Age 89

Star Trek star Nichelle Nichols died at the age of 89 on Saturday in Silver City, New Mexico. Gilbert Bell, Nichols’ talent manager and business partner of 15 years, confirmed the news to Variety.

The iconic star played as communications officer Uhura on the original Star Trek sci-fi series in the 1960s. Nichols and her co-star William Shatner produced a landmark moment when they shared one of the first interracial kisses in television history.  

As Blavity previously reported, Nichols was honored with the NASA Exceptional Public Achievement Medal when she made her final Comic-Con appearance in Los Angeles in December. As the trailblazer received recognition for her four decades of work in diversifying the ranks within the space agency, she rose from her wheelchair to accept the award.

The star’s son, Kyle Johnson, addressed the audience at the event.

“A life well-lived is reward enough, every day, and my mother’s certainly had a life well lived in many respects,” Johnson told the audience, according to People. “This is an exceptional recognition, and I’m of course very proud of her for all that she’s done, and the value and the meaning of her work. Not just as an actress, but very real and important work that she inspired and enabled people to understand.”

Nichols, who made her mark with her performance on stage and on TV, faced a setback in 2018 when she was diagnosed with dementia. Still, she appeared to be in good spirits during her final Comic-Con appearance.

Legendary astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison also raved about Nichols’ legacy when she spoke at the L.A. Comic-Con.

“One of the things that you’ve heard everyone say when they talk about meeting and spending any time in Miss Nichelle Nichols’ presence is warmth and generosity,” Jemison said. “And you feel like you’ve known her, because she is that real, not just relatable, but that important and sentient in our lives. She said to me, ‘Life is what the universe gave you for free when you were born. But style is what you do with it.’”

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