Nelsan Ellis’ death shocked friends and fans. The 39-year-old actor, known best for his role in the HBO series ‘True Blood,’ died suddenly of heart failure over the weekend. The actor, who played Lafayette Reynolds, was a “gentle, generous and kind soul,” according to family members.
Ellis’ family decided to open up about the actor’s death, stating that he abused drugs and alcohol for years.
He was trying to quit alcohol at the time of his death, which led to his death, according to reports. The actor suffered from severe withdrawal that led to heart failure. The news of his death led to a massive outpouring of support from friends, family members and fans.
The family decided to release an announcement via THR to help others that may also be suffering from drug and alcohol abuse.
The family states: “Nelsan’s father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan’s heart failure. 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.
On the morning of Saturday July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead.”
The actor died in a New York hospital and was said to be reluctant to speak about his addiction problems. The family of the actor say that he was ashamed of his addiction and went to rehab multiple times, but fell back into his addiction several times.
Ellis was born in Illinois and studied at the prestigious Julliard school.
He more recently had roles in “Elementary,” a television series on CBS, and appeared as Martin Luther King Jr. in “The Butler.”