Nelsan Ellis, the actor best known for his role in the vampire fantasy True Blood, has died at age 39.
Ellis's manager, Emily Gerson Saines, confirmed the actor's death to BuzzFeed News.
Saines told The Hollywood Reporter that Ellis had died after complications with heart failure.
"He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed," Saines said.
On HBO's True Blood, Ellis played Lafayette Reynolds, a short-order cook, medium, and vampire blood dealer. The character was killed off in the books but survived all seven seasons of the TV show due to Ellis's popularity.
True Blood creator Alan Ball praised the actor in a statement to BuzzFeed News: "Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege."
Ellis was also known for his roles in the movies Get On Up and The Help.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, HBO said the network was "extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis."
"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," the statement said. "Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO."
Ellis's True Blood co-stars mourned the actor's death.
So did writers for the show.
The Help star Octavia Spencer also mourned the actor in an Instagram post.
"Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family," she wrote.
Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Julia Reinstein at email@example.com.
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