'True Blood' actor Nelsan Ellis dies at 39

True Blood star Nelsan Ellis dead at 39 following heart failure

True Blood star Nelsan Ellis dead at 39 following heart failure

The actor died of complications from heart failure.

Nelsan Ellis, who portrayed Lafayette on all seven seasons of the HBO horror-drama series True Blood, has died at the age of 39. His manager, Emily Gerson Saines, confirmed the news with The Hollywood Reporter.

'He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed'.

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We send our thoughts and condolences to Nelsan's loved ones during this hard time.

Nelsan Ellis was born in Harvey, Illinois, on November 30, 1977.

His film credits also included playing Martin Luther King Jr in Lee Daniels' The Butler, playing Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic Get On Up and 2015 Sundance pic The Stanford Prison Experiment. He most recently appeared opposite Melanie Lynskey in the indie drama "Little Boxes".

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HBO issued a statement saying Ellis will be dearly missed.

Ellis, a Juilliard-trained actor, had his big break in 2008 with his role on True Blood as Lafayette, the flamboyant chef at Merlotte's.

Added "True Blood" creator Alan Ball, "Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me". The Hollywood Reporter claims that the character was actually killed off in the books that True Blood are based on, but due to Ellis' charisma onscreen, the producers chose to have him survive the entirety of the show's run. The actor also has one son, Breon Ellis.

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