Nelsan Ellis, the actor best known for starring on HBO’s “True Blood” as Lafayette Reynolds, has passed away. He was 39.
Ellis’ manager Emily Gerson Saines confirmed the actor’s death to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure. He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed,” Saines said.
HBO also released a statement to express grief over Ellis’ demise.
“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis. He 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,” the post from the network read.
Ellis played Lafayette Reynolds from 2008 until the series’ completion in 2014. He then went on to star as Bobby Byrd in the 2014 James Brown biopic “Get on Up”.
In 2012, Ellis was cast as Martin Luther King Jr in a supporting performance in Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”.
The actor’s “True Blood” creator Alan Ball and co-stars Joe Manganiello and Sam Trammell also paid tribute to him on social media.
Ball wrote, “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.”
Manganiello posted, “Crushed today by the loss of my friend and castmate Nelsan Ellis. He was a wonderful person, a pioneer, and a one of a kind artist. RIP,” said Joe .
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the level of humility and kindness that came with the Magnificent Talent that Nelsan Ellis had. Miss u friend,” said Trammell.
(Feature image source: Reuters)