Nelsan Ellis, the actor who starred on HBO’s True Blood as the fan-favorite Lafayette Reynolds, struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for years. That battle ultimately cost the 39-year-old his life.
Now, days after his death, Ellis’ family agreed to release to The Hollywood Reporter, through his manager Emily Gerson Saines, the exact circumstances around the beloved actor’s passing. Ellis died Saturday of heart failure. His death was met with a massive outpouring from friends and fans around the world, who were shocked and heartbroken over the news.
In an effort to help others who may be struggling with the same addictions that afflicted Ellis, his family released the following via Saines to THR:
Nelsan’s father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan’s heart failure. Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years. After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to his father, during his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control.
On the morning of Saturday July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead. Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul. He was a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, and a great friend to those that were lucky enough to know him. Nelsan was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life. His family, however, believes that in death he would want his life to serve as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others.
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