RIP True Blood star Nelsan Ellis (1977 – 2017)
The Hollywood Reporter brings word that actor Nelsan Ellis has passed away at the age of 39.
“Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure,” his manager Emily Gerson Saines told the outlet. “He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.”
Ellis was most known for playing the role of Lafayette Reynolds on the hit HBO series True Blood, a character that became so beloved by fans that he survived throughout the series despite an early death in its source material.
“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement. “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 series creator Alan Ball said: “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.”
Ellis also previously appeared in the short-lived series The Inside plus episodes of Veronica Mars, Without a Trace, and the CBS series Elementary. His feature film work included the likes of Secretariat, The Help, Lee Daniels’ The Butler (where he played Martin Luther King, Jr.), and the James Brown biopic Get On Up (where he played musician Bobby Byrd).
He is survived by his father, son, seven siblings, and his grandmother.