Sad news to report today, especially for fans of HBO's popular vampire drama True Blood. Actor and one of the main stars of the show Nelsan Ellis has passed away at the young age of 39. Reps for the actor have confirmed that Ellis died due to complications from heart failure.
Nelsan Ellis was best known for playing the demon-possessed medium Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood. HBO addressed the news about the actor's death in a statement released this afternoon. They had this to say about Ellis and his contributions to the network.
"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."
True Blood creator Alan Ball also offered his condolences. He had this to say in a statement.
"Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege."
Following his work on True Blood, Nelsan Ellis joined the cast of CBS' Sherlock drama Elementary. He portrayed series regular Shinwell, who was ultimately killed off in a mysterious murder plot line. Ellis also appeared in the Oscar-nominated The Help alongside Emma Stone, Vioila Davis and Octavia Spencer. Spencer offered her thoughts and prayers on Instagram saying this.
"Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family. #RIPNelsanEllis. #brillIantactor #trueblood #getonup #thesoloist #thehelp"
True Blood co-star Anna Paquin also said good-bye to Ellis on her Twitter. She offered these thoughts.
"It was an utter privilege to work with the phenomenally talented and deeply kind soul [email protected] I'm devastated by his untimely death."
True Blood star Sam Trammell remembered Nelsan for his 'level of humility and kindness' while referring to him as a 'Magnificent Talent'. And Stephen Moyer called the actor 'truly remarkable' before going onto also call him 'a brilliant, charismatic, intelligent, soulful, wonderful dude.'
Nelsan Ellis had a knack for picking out critically acclaimed movies, with his resume containing some of the best movies over the last couple of years. He played Martin Luther King Jr. in Lee Daniels' The Butler and Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic Get On Up. He also appeared in the 2015 Sundance favorite The Stanford Prison Experiment. He was last seen in the indie drama Little Boxes, and he'll next appear in True to the Game.
Along with his star-making role on True Blood and his appearance on Elamentray, he starred on Fox's short-lived series The Inside, which ran for just seven episodes. He appeared as Lafayette on the Southern gothic vampire series True Blood from 2008-2014.
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
Nelsan Ellis was truly remarkable. A brilliant, charismatic, intelligent, soulful, wonderful dude. this is just completely tragic.— Stephen Moyer (@smoyer) July 8, 2017
Crushed today by the loss of my friend and castmate Nelsan Ellis. He was a wonderful person, a pioneer, and a one of a kind artist. RIP pic.twitter.com/fvtquhIac7— Joe Manganiello (@JoeManganiello) July 8, 2017
One of the sweetest most talented men I've ever met. A terrible loss for all of us. Rest In… https://t.co/PgiUMuVzaZ— Kristin Bauer (@BauervanStraten) July 8, 2017
Stunned, devastated by the terrible news of @OfficialNelsan's passing. Nelsan was a genius and a beautiful soul. Sending love to his family.— Michael McMillian (@McMillzz) July 8, 2017
Heartbreaking. https://t.co/LuDtfxBUJB— Deborah Ann Woll (@DeborahAnnWoll) July 8, 2017
So blessed to share the screen with you you beautiful man. pic.twitter.com/DCD6WLAdJn— Todd Lowe (@Todd__Lowe) July 8, 2017
Stunned & heart broken about @OfficialNelsan A brilliantly talented & thoughtful actor. His humanity & sense of humor will be remembered.— Tara Buck (@iamtarabuck) July 8, 2017
Nelsan Ellis, you will truly be missed. Such a great talent gone far too soon. 💔 https://t.co/XLnmDqHGAR— Charlaine Harris (@RealCharlaine) July 8, 2017