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Nelsan Ellis of ‘True Bloods’ dead at 39


Nelsan Ellis, famous for his role as Lafayette Reynold on HBO’s ‘True Bloods’ has died at the age of 39 from complications associated with heart failure.

Nelson Ellis, famous for his role on the HBO hit series True Bloods, has died. The actor passed away on Saturday of natural causes.

Several media sources report Ellis’ battle with heart failure and cite complications associated with the condition as the reason for the actor’s death. “Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure,” Ellis’ manager, Emily Gerson Saines, said in a statement. “He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.”


HBO also released a statement concerning Nelson Ellis’ death. “We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” the network revealed. “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.”


Many remember Nelson as Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood. The actor also portrayed the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Lee Daniels’ The Butler in 2012. He joined the cast of Get On Up as Bobby Byrd in 2013.

“Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me,” True Bloods creator Alan Ball said in a statement on Saturday. “Working with him was a privilege.”

Nelson commented on his departure from True Bloods during a 2014 interview with Men’s Journal. “It’s unbelievably bittersweet because we’ve all got to move on, but I truly feel like I’m losing a family,” he shared. “It’s not so much that I’m going to miss the character, even though I will, but I’m going to miss the families that I enjoy coming to set and seeing. I’m going to miss the families a lot.”

Nelson Ellis leaves behind a son. He was 39-years-old at the time of death.