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‘True Blood’ Actor Nelsan Ellis Dead at 39

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Actor Nelsan Ellis, perhaps most known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood, has passed away. He was 39.

Variety confirms that the HBO star died after suffering complications from heart failure.

“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO issued in a statement on Saturday, July 7. “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.”

Alan Ball, creator and executive producer of True Blood, paid tribute to Ellis with his own statement, writing, “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.”

A fan favorite on vampire drama series True Blood, Ellis was beloved for his inclusive role as gay cook Lafayette.

Ellis also appeared in shows and films including The Inside, Veronica Mars, The Help, Get On Up, The Butler and The Standford Prison Experiment.

The actor is survived by his father, grandmother and his son, Breon.

On social media, co-stars and celebrities shared their condolences for Ellis. See some reactions, below:

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