Nelsan Ellis, Lafayette on 'True Blood', dies at 39

Nelsan Ellis, Lafayette on 'True Blood', dies at 39

Nelsan Ellis - known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO's "True Blood" - has died after complications from heart failure.

Actor Nelsan Ellis passed away today at the age of 39. The actor based many of Lafayette's quirks and mannerisms on his own mother and sister. During his time at Juilliard, he wrote the semi-autobiographical play Ugly, about his pregnant sister's murder by her husband.

Makers HBO also paid tribute to the actor in a statement, saying: 'We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis.

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True Blood creator Alan Ball called working with Ellis "a privilege". He then landed the role in True Blood, where he starred opposite Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer on Southern gothic vampire series that ran from 2008-2014. "Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO". The Hollywood Reporter claims that the character was actually killed off in the books that True Blood are based on, but due to Ellis' charisma onscreen, the producers made a decision to have him survive the entirety of the show's run.

Ellis is survived by his son, Breon, and seven siblings: Lakeeia Thomson, Tommie Lee Thompson, Babon Ellis, Maurice Turne, Tianna Thompson, Shaentika Beard and Yvonne Ellis.

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