True Blood’s, Nelsan Ellis, has died from complications of heart failure. The 39 year old actor had played Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO hit series and was a favorite since the show debuted in 2008.
His manager, Emily Gerson Saines, stated “Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure.”
On Monday the family released a statement through Saines, citing “alcohol withdrawal” as the inciting event that led to sepsis (blood infection) and ultimately kidney and heart failure.
Alcohol abuse has been linked to an increase risk of sepsis which can manifest in severe drops in blood pressure, lack of perfusion to vital organs, organ failure, and ultimately death.
As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, the statement from Saines reads:
Nelsan’s father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan’s heart failure. Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years. After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to his father, during his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control.
On the morning of Saturday July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead. Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul. He was a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, and a great friend to those that were lucky enough to know him. Nelsan was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life. His family, however, believes that in death he would want his life to serve as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others.
Ellis was born in Harvey, Illinois in 1978 and had also starred in the Soloist, The Help and a recently completed work, True to the Game.
He won multiple awards including Satellite Awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Television Ensemble.
Heart failure can be caused by a multitude of factors. For more information on heart failure, read here: Heart Failure
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