True Blood Star Dead From Drugs and Alcohol


Nelsan Ellis, who starred in the popular HBO series True Blood, has died aged 39, his manager confirmed.

Ellis, best known for playing the flamboyant Lafayette Reynolds in the horror-drama series, had reportedly died after complications from heart failure.


Now we know more.

A new statement showing the story to be much darker and complicated than that. The heart failure was caused by Ellis’s attempt to stop abusing alcohol on his own, which had been a lifelong but private struggle for the actor. The subsequent withdrawal led to his death.

“Nelsan’s father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan’s heart failure,” Saines’s statement to the Hollywood Reporter began. “Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years.”

Though he was in and out of rehab, his sobriety never lasted. So finally, “After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own.”


“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement. “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 appeared regularly throughout the series of True Blood after first appearing as the cook at a local restaurant in 2008. He played the role of Lafayette, a charismatic gay medium who was able to contact ghosts, BBC reported.

In addition to True Blood, Ellis appeared Lee Daniels’ The Butler (as Martin Luther King, Jr.), Secretariat, The Help, The Stanford Prison Experiment and as singer Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic Get On Up. Most recently, Ellis had a reoccurring role in the CBS detective series Elementary.

Nelsan Ellis

Friends and co-workers were saddened and posted their messages on social media.

Ellis is survived by his grandmother Alex Brown, his father Tommie Lee Thompson and his son Breon, along with seven siblings.

Although I am unfamiliar with his work, I want to send my condolences to his family.

RIP bro.

God Bless.

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