True Blood fans are in mourning after learning that sad news about the actor who played Lafayette Reynolds in the popular HBO series. Nelsan Ellis has died at just 39-years old. News of the actor’s passing comes from his manager, Emily Gerson Saines.
“Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure,” Saines told The Hollywood Reporter. “He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.”
Nelsan Ellis was a veteran actor with a long list of film roles. However, it was his role as Lafayette that will never be forgotten. Nelsan’s version of Lafayette in the HBO series’ True Blood was so popular that
Nelsan’s version of Lafayette in the HBO series’ True Blood was so popular that he lived until the very last season of the show. His character’s extended life came despite author Charlaine Harris killing off Lafayette early on in the Sookie Stackhouse series.
Upon learning of Nelsan’s death, HBO and many who worked with him have released a statement.
“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement. “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.”
True Blood creator and executive producer Alan Ball also spoke out after learning of Nelsan Ellis’ death. “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me,” said Ball. “Working with him was a privilege.”
In addition to his notoriety as Lafayette on True Blood, Nelsan Ellis was also known for his work on Elementary. There are 11 episodes to his credit as Ellis played Shinwell Johnson on the show.
Nelsan Ellis leaves behind his son, Breon. He also has seven brothers and sisters who are mourning his death.
Nelsan’s family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Jenesse Center or The Restoration Ministries Church of God and Christ in his memory.
It’s no surprise that many True Blood fans have also taken to social media to express their shock and sadness over the untimely passing of Ellis. The man behind the much-loved character of Lafayette will be missed.