The actor Nelsan Ellis, best known for his role in the popular HBO series True Blood, has died aged 39.
According to his manager Ellis died after complications from heart failure.
In a statement HBO paid tribute to Ellis who played the charismatic medium Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood from 2008 until the series ended in 2014.
We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis. He will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.
— HBO (@HBO) July 8, 2017
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.
His manager Emily Gerson Saines told the Hollywood Reporter that he was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.
Ellis also starred in the award winning film The Help alongside Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer in 2011.
Spencer paid tribute to his costar on Twitter, he wrote:
Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family.
He also appeared as Martin Luther King Jr. in Lee Daniels’ film The Butler and as singer Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic Get On Up.
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
His True Blood co-stars Michael McMillian, Lauren Bowles, Kristin Bauer and Joe Manganiello also paid tribute to their late friend.
Ellis is survived by his grandmother, his father, and his son, Breon, as well as seven siblings.