‘True Blood’ Star Nelsan Ellis Dies At 39, Series Stars Pay Tribute
Nelsan Ellis, known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood, has died at age 39.
He died from heart failure, which was confirmed by his manager Emily Gerson Saines.
Along with starring in True Blood, Ellis also appeared in Veronica Mars,The Soloist,The Help and Lee Daniel‘s The Butler.
HBO said in a statement on Saturday that the network’s team is “extremely saddened” by the news.
“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,’” the statement read. “Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.”
Ellis is survived by his father, seven siblings and his son, Breon Ellis.
Ellis’ True Blood coworkers were among the first to mourn him on social media. Show creator Alan Ball said in a statement, “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.” Anna Paquin, who starred on the show, tweeted:
— Anna Paquin (@AnnaPaquin) July 8, 2017
Deborah Ann Woll, who played Jessica on the HBO vampire drama, called the news “heartbreaking.”
— Deborah Ann Woll (@DeborahAnnWoll) July 8, 2017
Oscar winning actress Octavia Spencer also remembered Ellis on Instagram.
Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family. #RIPNelsanEllis. #brillIantactor #trueblood #getonup #thesoloist #thehelp. The first time I met him was on the set of the soloist and we were at rehearsal with a lot of the homeless cast members, and Nelsan was playing our counselor. He walked in wearing a pair of fitted camo cargo pants, a pristine white tshirt, a beret, and a denim jacket. Needless to say he was gorgeous, sexy. But his talent had me speechless. We became instant friends after that. He was sooooo funny. I miss him. #nelsanellis
Sam Trammell, Anna Camp, Lauren Bowles, Todd Lowe, Aisha Hinds, and Michael Raymond-James were among the other True Blood cast members sharing memories about their fallen friend.
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
— Sam Trammell (@SamTrammell) July 8, 2017
My heart is broken today over the loss of @OfficialNelsan I was in complete awe of your talent and so honored to have known your kindness.
— Anna Camp (@TheRealAnnaCamp) July 8, 2017
Unbelievably sad news. Nelsan was such a sweet, gentle soul with an enormous talent. He will be missed greatly RIP https://t.co/NDdoaeM6Pj
— MichaelRaymond-James (@MRaymondJames) July 8, 2017