Nelsan Ellis’s family has shared the heartbreaking circumstances of the star’s death

The family of True Blood star Nelsan Ellis have shared the details about his death, and we’re so devastated by this news.

On Saturday, the family announced that Ellis had passed away following complications from heart failure. In response, Ellis’s former True Blood cast mates all shared their tributes to their late friend. Ellis, of course, played the iconic fan-favorite Lafayette in the HBO supernatural drama.

In a statement delivered to The Hollywood Reporter, Ellis’s family said that the actor died of heart failure that was brought on by alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

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

Continuing, Saines said that Ellis had spent four days in Woodhull Hospital, where, on Saturday morning, he was sadly 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,” the statement continued. “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.” 

Sharing their own statement, HBO expressed their sadness at Ellis’ passing.

“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” they said in a statement on Saturday. “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.”

Like many, we’re devastated by the heartbreaking death of Nelsan Ellis. We’re sending all our thoughts to his friends and family.

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