"True Blood" actor died of alcohol withdrawal complications

Known for his eclectic role as Lafayette on HBO TV series, "True Blood," Ellis will be missed dearly.

Nelsan Ellis' last appearance on television was on CBS' Elementary.

The late actor's family confirmed his death to The Hollywood Reporter, on Monday, July 10, saying:

“Nelsan’s father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan’s heart failure,” the late actor’s manager, Emily Gerson Saines, told the site.

“Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years. After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to his father, during his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control.”


The statement went on to say: “On the morning of Saturday, July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead. Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul. He was a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, and a great friend to those that were lucky enough to know him.

"Nelsan was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life. His family, however, believes that in death he would want his life to serve as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others.”

Speaking of the late actor's death, HBO, in a statement released on Saturday, July 8, said:

"We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis.

"Nelsan was a longtime 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’ costars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer also took to social media to share touching tributes.

“It was an utter privilege to work with the phenomenally talented and deeply kind soul .@OfficialNelsan I'm devastated by his untimely death,” Paquin tweeted on Saturday.

May his soul rest in peace.


Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: