“True Blood” star Nelsan Ellis has died at the age of 39.
According to the The Hollywood Reporter, his manager, Emily Gerson Saines, said, “Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure.
“He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed,” she said.
Ellis famously played Lafayette, a short order cook who lived in the supernatural town of Bon Temps, on HBO’s “True Blood,” across the show’s seven seasons.
“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement obtained by AccessHollywood.com. “Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of True Blood. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.”
“True Blood” Executive Producer Alan Ball also released a statement through HBO.
“Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege,” the EP said in his statement.
Octavia Spencer, who starred in “The Help” alongside Nelsan, posted a photo on Instagram of the actor.
“Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family,” she wrote on the social media site.
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Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family. #RIPNelsanEllis. #brillIantactor #trueblood #getonup #thesoloist #thehelp. The first time I met him was on the set of the soloist and we were at rehearsal with a lot of the homeless cast members, and Nelsan was playing our counselor. He walked in wearing a pair of fitted camo cargo pants, a pristine white tshirt, a beret, and a denim jacket. Needless to say he was gorgeous, sexy. But his talent had me speechless. We became instant friends after that. He was sooooo funny. I miss him. #nelsanellis
Ellis’ many roles include playing Martin Luther King Jr. in Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and Shinwell Johnson in CBS’ “Elementary.”
— Jolie Lash
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