Nelsan Ellis, the actor known for his role of Lafayette on the HBO series True Blood, died at the age of 39.
His manager, Emily Gerson Saines, confirmed the news to EW. “Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure,” she said in a statement. “He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.”
As Lafayette, the sassafras cook at Merlotte’s Bar and Grill, Ellis was one of the cast members who stayed with True Blood up until the final season, which capped in 2014. “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.”