Nelsan Ellis, Lafayette on ‘True Blood’, dies at 39

Nelsan Ellis attends the world premiere of "Get On Up" at the Apollo Theater on Monday, July 21, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES (WFLA) – Nelsan Ellis, the actor best known for his portrayal as Lafayette Reynolds in HBO’s True Blood has died, his manager Emily Gerson Saines confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure,” Saines said. “He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.”

Ellis was 39.

Lafayette Reynolds, a gay short order cook, was a major character in the series, one of the few characters who stayed on the show until the seventh and final season.

“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 credits also include roles in the CBS series “Elementary” and the films “Get On Up,” “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” “Little Boxes,” and “The Butler.”

He leaves behind a son and seven siblings.

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