"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was sent to a Chicago hospital early Tuesday (Jan. 29) morning after he was attacked in a suspected hate crime.
According to Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, detectives already began their investigation into the reported assault.
The 35-year-old was approached on the street by two people who were "yelling out racial and homophobic slurs toward him," according to Gugliemi's statement, shared with US Weekly. "The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim's neck."
Smollett, who has since been released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, reportedly received a threatening letter in the days prior to the incident. According ThatGrapeJuice.Net, the note read, "You will die black f-g."
"Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime," Guglielmi added. "Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline. The victim is fully cooperating with investigators, and we ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com."
Smollett, who has played Jamal Lyon on Fox's "Empire" for five seasons, came out as gay in 2015 during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.
"It was a bigger deal to everyone than it was for me," he said at the time. "But, at the same time I do understand why it is something to talk about."
Celebrities and fans have been sharing an outpouring of support for the actor and voicing their disgust about the homophobic and racially motivated attack.
At the time of this report, Smollett has yet to comment on the matter via his own social media channels.