eorge Takei was one of the Star Trek actors to pay tribute to their “forerunner” Nichelle Nichols after her death at the age of 89.

Actress known for playing communications officer Lt Uhura in the original Star Trek television series, which aired from 1966-1969.

Her son, Kyle Johnson, shared the news on her official Facebook page on Sunday that she had passed away the day before in Silver City, New Mexico.

Takei, who plays Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu of the fictional starship USS Enterprise, said “his heart is heavy” after her death.

He shared a snap of them together and wrote: “I will have to say more about the ahead, incomparable Nichelle Nichols who shared the bridge with us as Lieutenant Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed away today at the age of 89.

“For this day, my heart is heavy, my eyes sparkle like the stars that you rest in the middle, my dearest friend.”

Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager, praised Nichols for comforting the actresses.

Sharing a photo of Nichols as her Lt Uhura on Twitter, Mulgrew wrote: “Nichelle Nichols is the First.

“She is a forerunner who has walked a challenging path with grit, grace, and a beautiful flame that we are unlikely to see again. You can rest in peace.”

While actress Jeri Ryan, who played the Borg drone Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager, said: “RIP to a true legend. Her legacy will live on forever” in her gratitude.

The official Star Trek Twitter account also wrote: “We are deeply saddened to report the passing of Nichelle Nichols – a forerunner, inspiration, and much more. She will be deeply ignored.”

Nasa also celebrates the life of the Nichols by reflecting on her partnership with them, which helped recruit some of the first women and minority astronauts.

Sharing a photo of the actress wearing Nasa overalls as she sat behind the screen on Twitter, the company said: “We celebrate the life of Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek actress, frontrunner and model, who made represents a lot of possibilities.

“She partnered with us to recruit some of the first women and minority astronauts, and inspire generations to reach for the stars.”

Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter agrees that she feels Nichols has helped “pave the way to a better future for all women in media”.

In her tribute, she said: “Many actors become stars, but few stars can move an entire country.

“Nichelle Nichols has shown us the extraordinary power of Black women and paved the way for a better future for all women in the media. Thank you, Nicole. We will miss you.”

Bernice King, daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, also reflects the importance of television representation in her dedication, saying: “Representation matters. Excellence in representation is even more important.

“Thank you, #NichelleNichols. Rest well, ancestors. “

Dave Blass, who was a production designer for Star Trek, added: “Nichelle Nichols changed the world. How many people can say that.

“She is a representative beacon who inspires people to reach for the stars. She is the embodiment of everything Star Trek stands for. Must see movie about her work with Nasa. “

Announcing the news, Nichols’ son wrote on her official Facebook page: “Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away.

“However, her light, like those of ancient galaxies now seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration from.

“Her life was a good life and a role model for all of us.”