Actor Nelsan Ellis dies aged just 39

True Blood actor Nelsan Ellis has died the age of 39. His manager confirmed the news on Saturday after Ellis suffered complications following heart failure. They told the Hollywood Reporter ‘He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.’ Little else is known about the actor’s passing.

A statement from HBO, the network which aired the actor’s most popular series True Blood read ‘We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis.’ It continued ‘Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly.’

He also starred in the film The Help alongside Oscar-winner Viola Davies and Octavia Spencer who paid tribute to the actor on social media. Spencer said ‘Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family.’ Fellow actors including Joe Manganiello  expressed their sadness and shock at Ellis’ passing with Manganiello saying he was ‘crushed by the loss of my friend.’

Speaking about playing a gay man in the series True Blood, Ellis said that he took inspiration from his mother and sister. He added ‘I have more makeup on than any of the females in the cast. Once they get me with the fake eyelashes and the eye makeup, I listen to some Rihanna and I’m there.’

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