Actor Nelsan Ellis gained a cult-like following thanks to his tremendously popular character, Lafayette, on HBO’s “True Blood.” But now his fans and co-stars are in mourning.
Ellis, who played a flamboyant short-order cook on the HBO hit for seven seasons, died at the age of 39 Saturday as a result of heart failure.Screenshot/Facebook
The HBO star’s manager, Emily Gerson Saines, confirmed the sad news to The Hollywood Reporter. She said:
“Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure. He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.”
It’s unclear what condition lead to the popular actor’s premature death, but fans and co-stars alike have been expressing their sympathy on social media.
Many of the actors Ellis worked with on “True Blood” have shared their remembrances. Co-star Anna Paquin said that she was “devastated” by the loss:
— Anna Paquin (@AnnaPaquin) July 8, 2017
Devin Alejandro, who played Jesús Velásquez on the series, wrote:
— Kevin Alejandro (@kevinmalejandro) July 8, 2017
“Pitch Perfect” star Anna Camp, who got her big break on the series, said that she was “broken” when she heard the news:
My heart is broken today over the loss of @OfficialNelsan I was in complete awe of your talent and so honored to have known your kindness.
— Anna Camp (@TheRealAnnaCamp) July 8, 2017
Sam Trammell said that he would miss his close friend:
I don't know if I've ever seen the level of humility and kindness that came with the Magnificent Talent that Nelsan Ellis had. Miss u friend
— Sam Trammell (@SamTrammell) July 8, 2017
Co-star Joe Manganiello shared a photo alongside the talented actor:
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
Stephen Moyer called the death “completely tragic”:
Nelsan Ellis was truly remarkable. A brilliant, charismatic, intelligent, soulful, wonderful dude. this is just completely tragic.
— Stephen Moyer (@smoyer) July 8, 2017
HBO released the following statement about the actor’s sudden death:
“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.”
Ellis is survived by his wife and young son, Breon.