Nelsan Ellis who was best known for his role as the lively Lafayette Reynolds on the vampire-centered HBO series True Blood has died. Ellis was just 39-years old.
Ellis’ manager Emily Gerson Saines, told 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.” True Blood creator, Allan Ball released a statement saying, “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.”
When True Blood wrapped in 2014, Ellis went on to star in the television series Elementary, and he was most recently seen in the indie feature, Little Boxes. He is also known for his work in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Get On Up. According to his IMDB, Ellis just completed a role in a forthcoming film, True to the Game where he starred opposite Vivica A. Fox.
HBO has also released a statement saying, “We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis. 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.”
Ellis was a Julliard graduate and native of Harvey, Illinois. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Jenesse Center or The Restoration Ministries Church of God and Christ.