'True Blood' star Nelsan Ellis dead at 39

The actor portrayed Lafayette Reynolds on the HBO series.

ByABC News
July 8, 2017, 4:03 PM

— -- "True Blood" actor Nelsan Ellis has died, his manager confirmed to ABC News.

The actor, who portrayed Lafayette Reynolds in HBO's hit series, died on Saturday in Los Angeles after complications from heart failure, his manager said. He was 39.

Along with starring in "True Blood," Ellis also appeared in "Veronica Mars," "The Soloist," "The Help" and "Lee Daniel's The Butler."

Ellis was born November 30, 1977 in Harvey, Illinois. After a short stint in the U.S. Marines, which he quit at age 17, Ellis was accepted into the famed Juilliard School in New York, where he graduated from in 2004.

He is survived by his grandmother, Alex Brown, his father, Tommie Lee Thompson, and his son, Breon Ellis, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The actor is also survived by seven siblings and his aunt, the magazine added.

After news of his death broke, HBO released a statement Saturday to express their condolences.

"We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis," the statement read. "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."

And many took to social media to mourn the loss.

Oscar winning actress Octavia Spencer remembered Ellis on Instagram.

"Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial," she wrote. "My heart breaks for his kids and family."

Other actors and directors also shared their condolences on social media: