Former Baltimore Kingpin, Who Inspired “The Wire”, Dies in Prison

By Staff  |  02/17/2016

Nathan Barksdale

Nathan Barksdale, a Baltimore drug kingpin who inspired characters in HBO's The Wire, passed away recently... while serving time in a North Carolina prison.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the 54-year-old died in a medical prison, though it's unclear of what the cause was.

Barksdale, who went by the street name "Bodie", is said to have been one of the most notorious drug kingpins in the city during the 1980s, running a violent heroin-dealing operation in the Murphy Homes public housing complex. However, the streets caught up to him during his peak, when he was shot more than 20 times and had to have his right leg amputated below the knee.

He eventually left his drug-dealing days behind him, so he claimed, working with the anti-violence Safe Streets program. But in 2014, he was arrested and pleaded guilty for his part in a heroin conspiracy with members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang... and sentenced to nearly four years in prison.

HBO's The Wire was inspired by Barksdale. It was set in Baltimore and featured a drug kingpin named Avon Barksdale and a dealer named "Bodie" Broadus.