True Blood actor Nelsan Ellis died last week from heart failure as a result from an ongoing struggle with addiction, his agent has said. The larger-than-life star, famed for playing Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO series, died on July 8 after a four-day fight for his life in Woodhull hospital in New York.
"Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years," said Emily Gerson Saines. "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."
She described the Illinois-born actor as a "gentle, generous and kind soul" who was a "great friend to those that were lucky enough to know him," adding: “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."
Images: True Blood/HBO