Actor Nelsan Ellis—best known for his recurring role on HBO’s “True Blood”—has died, reports Variety.
According to the outlet, Ellis passed away due to heart failure.
Following his death, HBO released a statement reflecting on Ellis’ contributions to the network. “We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” said the network, according to Variety. “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, who was born in Illinois in 1977 spent a majority of his childhood in Alabama but moved back to Chicago when he was 15, writes the source. After a short stint in the military, he went on to study at Illinois State University and then Julliard where he received his B.F.A.
After landing roles on television shows that included “The Inside” and “Veronica Mars,” he was then cast on True Blood, where his role as Lafayette Reynolds garnered him several awards. After True Blood, he landed roles in films that included “The Help,” “The Butler,” and “Get On Up,” reports the outlet.
His most recent project was CBS’s “Elementary.”
Several actors who have worked with Ellis in the past took to social media to share their condolences.
Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family. #RIPNelsanEllis. #brillIantactor #trueblood #getonup #thesoloist #thehelp. The first time I met him was on the set of the soloist and we were at rehearsal with a lot of the homeless cast members, and Nelsan was playing our counselor. He walked in wearing a pair of fitted camo cargo pants, a pristine white tshirt, a beret, and a denim jacket. Needless to say he was gorgeous, sexy. But his talent had me speechless. We became instant friends after that. He was sooooo funny. I miss him. #nelsanellis
Ellis was 39.