Nichelle Nichols, who famously played Lt. Uhura on 'Star Trek,' has died ... this according to her family.
Nichols' son, Kyle Johnson, confirmed the news on Sunday with an update posted to a website dedicated to the life and career of his mother ... writing, "I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years."
He adds, "Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. 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."
Kyle ends by saying this ... "I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected." He also sent a "Live long and prosper" shout out.
Nichols made history as the first African-American woman to play a lead role on television. And with "Star Trek: The Original Series" costar William Shatner ... she also shared the first on-screen kiss between a Black woman and white man on American television.
She played the role for a handful of years and starred in dozens of 'Star Trek' episodes between '66 and '69. However, her acting career went far beyond just the Galactic Barrier.
With 69 acting credits to her name, NN has appeared on several hit shows and movies over the years, including notable voice-over roles, such as ... 'The Lieutenant,' 'Peyton Place,' 'Tarzan,' 'Truck Turner,' 'The Supernaturals,' 'Batman: The Animated Series,' 'Gargoyles,' 'Spider-Man: The Animated Series,' 'Futurama,' 'Buzz Lightyear of Star Command,' 'The Simpsons,' 'Snow Dogs,' 'Are We There Yet?' 'Heroes,' 'The Young and the Restless,' and so many others.
Toward the end of her life, Nichols was in an often bitter conservatorship battle with her son -- this after he was granted control of the apparatus once she'd been diagnosed with dementia ... a legal fight that went on for some years, and, at times, got pretty ugly.