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/ Source: TODAY
By Gina Vivinetto

Celebrities are reaching out to "Empire" star Jussie Smollett after he was brutally attacked Tuesday morning in Chicago.

The 36-year-old actor told police he was assaulted by two men hurling racial and homophobic slurs. The men wrapped a rope around Smollett's neck, he said, and poured an "unknown chemical substance" — believed to be bleach — on him during the attack, which Chicago police are investigating as a possible hate crime, NBC News reports.

"Empire" star Jussie Smollett was attacked Tuesday morning in Chicago by two men hurling racist and homophobic slurs.GC Images

Smollett told police he had just flown in from New York and was on his way to find food around 2 a.m. on East North Lower Water Street when the two men attacked him.

After the offenders fled the scene, Smollett took himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment. The extent of his injuries is unknown.

Smollett plays Jamal Lyon, a gay singer-songwriter on the Fox series. The beloved actor came out as gay himself during an interview with Out magazine in 2016.

After details of the horrific hate crime were reported Tuesday, celebrities took to social media to send Smollett their heartfelt words of support.

"Sending love to Jussie and the Smollett family after this horrific attack. We support you and pray that you find peace and justice," musician and actor John Legend wrote.

"THIS is why the LGBTQ community continue to fight to be seen and PROTECTED against hate!" Oscar winner Viola Davis wrote. "We ALL have to take this very personally! My arms are around you @JussieSmollett. You are loved!"

Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon called the attack a "truly horrible racist, homophobic hate crime."

She added, "I hope we can find an end to the hate and fear that plagues this country. Praying for your recovery, Jussie."

"Standing with and sending love to @JussieSmollett today ... this is a racist hate crime and is disgusting and shameful to our country," singer Katy Perry wrote.

"Empire" co-creator Danny Strong called Smollett "a kind and profoundly talented soul whom I respect with all my heart."

He added, "The terror of racism and homophobia has no place in our society, it is the most indecent way to live."

"This is so awful. Sending love to @JussieSmollett," Billy Eichner, star of "American Horror Story," wrote.

Emmy winner Jackée Harry called Smollett "one of the fiercest people I know."

She added, "This hatred won’t stop his championing for a better world. If anything, it will probably motivate him more. It has me."

"Schitt's Creek" co-creator and star Dan Levy called the attack "horrifying, heartbreaking, and deeply disturbing," and urged fans to donate to "a Black/LGBTQ organization."

"DEAR GOD! Prayers and justice for Jussie Smollett," "Scandal" alum Kerry Washington wrote.

Vivica A. Fox, who has guest-starred as Smollett's aunt on "Empire," wrote, "IM SO ANGRY AND HURT ABOUT THIS! THIS MUST STOP!! SPREAD LOVE NOT HATE!"

"Sex and the City" alum Cynthia Nixon thanked Smollett for being "an out and proud artist and activist, and a hero to so many of us—no small feat in the face of racism and homophobia."

She added, "Sending you love today and always."

"PRAYING for my friend Jussie and for the HATE and intolerance that has grown in this country," Holly Robinson Peete, star of "Meet the Peetes," wrote.

"Westworld" star Thandie Newton called Smollett "a beacon of light in the darkness."

"Love WILL prevail," Newton wrote.