Nelsan Ellis True Blood
Image Credit: HBO/ True Blood

Nelsan Ellis entertained people around the world for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s True Blood. However, on Saturday the actor had passed away at the young age of 39. Apparently, the actor died from complications from heart failure.

In a statement, HBO said, “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.”

The creator of True Blood and executive producer Alan Ball added, “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.”

Nelsan was born in 1977 in Harvey, Illinois and him and his siblings moved to Alabama to live with Alabama to live with their aunt before Ellis decided to go to Chicago at the young age of 15. At 17, the aspiring actor joined the Marines but quit shortly after that. After studying at Illinois State University, Ellis went on to get his B.F.A. from Julliard.

After filming 80 episodes of True Blood, the actor went on to land roles in The Butler, The Help, The Stanford Prison Experiment and Get On Up. He would eventually land a lead role on CBS Elementary.