Star Trek actor Nichelle Nichols died on Saturday.

Her role as a lieutenant on the bridge of a starship was a groundbreaking example of how black Americans were shown in Hollywood (30 July). She turned 89.

On Sunday (July 31), the actor's son, Kyle Johnson, wrote on Instagram that she had died.

"My mother, Nichelle Nichols, died last night due to natural causes," he wrote. "Her light, on the other hand,

will stay for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and get ideas from, just like the light from old galaxies that we are just now seeing for the first time."  

"She had a good life and was a good example for all of us," said Johnson.

In 1966, Nichols became famous when she was cast as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, the ship's communications officer,

in the space adventure show Star Trek. The role was important for a number of reasons.  It was one of the first major roles for a black woman in a US television show.

It was also one of the first times a black woman was shown in a military-style command role in any medium.

And it led to one of the first kisses between a white actor, William Shatner, and a black co-star, Angela Lansbury. Nichelle Nichols death Star Trek actor dies, aged 89