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:

Deborah Ann Woll, who played Jessica on the HBO vampire drama, called the news “heartbreaking.”

Oscar winning actress Octavia Spencer also remembered Ellis on Instagram.

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.



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