In tragic news this morning from the US, Nelsan Ellis, the actor who starred as charismatic fry cook Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO series True Blood, has died following complications from heart failure. He was aged just 39.

The actor’s manager Emily Gerson Saines confirmed the sad news earlier today, telling The Hollywood Reporter “he was a great talent and his words and presence will forever be missed.”

In a statement to the media, the network 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.”

His cast-mates have also begun to pay tribute, with co-star Joe Mangianello saying he is “crushed” by the loss of his friend, a “wonderful person, a pioneer and a one of a kind artist.”

Anna Paquin said that she is “devastated by his untimely death” and that it was an “utter privilege” to work with Ellis, a “phenomenally talented and deeply kind soul.”

Ellis also starred in Elementary, and appeared in films including The Help and The Butler. He is survived by his father, siblings, and his son. 

R.I.P.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter.

Photo: HBO.