Sad way to start the week, but Nichelle Nichols, best known as Uhura from the original Star Trek series and movies, has passed away at the age of 89. It’s been reported that she died of natural causes.

She was a trailblazer, in that she played the first black actress to play a position of authority in a major TV series in the US. Later in her life, Nichols was employed by NASA to encourage more women and African Americans to get into science and become astronauts.

Her son, Kyle Johnson, reported her death on Saturday, via Facebook, saying:

“I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years.”

“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.”

In 1968, Lt Uhura and Captain Kirk, shared the first ever interracial kiss on US television, breaking down all kinds of stereotypes and really pushing the message that Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Wars was trying to push, that all people are equal.

Nicols nearly left Star Trek, but heard Martin Luther King Jr talking about her, when he described her as the:

“…first non-stereotypical role portrayed by a black woman in television history”

Adam Nimoy, son of Lenard Nimoy wrote on Twitter:

And the official NASA account said:

Nocols was 89 when she passed away on Saturday. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.

A personal quote from her, about the fans:

“I’m a fan of the fans. I love them. They’re fabulous. I love being around them. I love their madness and their caring. I love watching them take off for a weekend, don the costumes, and become characters from the 23rd century and beyond. I thank the fans for giving us–me–so much support and love. I want them to know I love them. They will always be my friends. I’ll see the fans, always. They can rest assured of that.”

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