"True Blood" actor Nelsan Ellis died from alcohol withdrawal complications
Getty Images/CBS Photo Archive(LOS ANGELES) — The family of Nelsan Ellis, who played Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s hit series True Blood, is speaking out about his death and his struggles with alcohol addiction.
In a statement to ABC News, Nelson’s manager revealed the circumstances surrounding his heart failure on Saturday in Los Angeles.
“Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years,” the statement reads. “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.”
The statement continues, “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.”
The family then adds, “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.”
Besides True Blood, Ellis also appeared in the CW TV series Veronica Mars. He played Martin Luther King Jr. in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and had roles in The Soloist, The Help, and the James Brown biopic Get On Up.
Ellis is survived by his grandmother, Alex Brown, his father, Tommie Lee Thompson, and his son, Breon Ellis. The actor is also survived by seven siblings and his aunt.
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