Death at 89 of Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhura from "Star Trek"

Nichelle Nichols, an actress and vocalist best known for playing Lieutenant Uhura, 

Star Trek's communications officer, passed away on Saturday night in Silver City, New Mexico. Age-wise, she was 89.

Kyle Johnson, her son, sent a message on the website Uhura.com saying, "I regret to inform you that a great star in the firmament no longer shines for us as

It did for a very long time. But like the old galaxies now being seen for the first time,

her light will endure for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and be inspired by.

As Lt. Nyota Uhura on the original TV series, Nichols made history as one of the first Black women to appear in a major television series.

Her name is derived from the Swahili word for "freedom," Uhuru.

In 2011, Nichols stated to NPR, "Here I was projecting in the 23rd century what should have been pretty simple.

" "On a starship, that is. I was the chief of communications. In fourth place on a starship. 

They didn't believe that this would occur until the year 2300. Both children and adults thought it was today."