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'True Blood' star Nelsan Ellis dead

Actor Nelsan Ellis, famous for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO's "True Blood", is dead. He was 39. The actor died on Saturday after complications from heart failure, reports variety.com. "We were 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'. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO," a statement issued on behalf of HBO read.

"True Blood" creator and executive producer Alan Ball echoed HBO's epitaph in a statement of his own. "Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege," Ball said. Ellis's The Help co-star Octavia Spencer broke the news on Instagram on Saturday morning, saying: "Just got word that we lost (Nelsan). My heart breaks for his kids and family."
Following the success of "True Blood", Ellis moved from TV to film, landing key roles in movies like Get On Up, The Stanford Prison Experiment, Little Boxes, The Butler and The Help. The actor was seen in a lead role on the just-wrapped fifth season of "Elementary". "Crushed today by the loss of my friend and castmate Nelsan Ellis," said "True Blood" co-star Joe Manganiello.
Manganiello added: "He was a wonderful person, a pioneer, and a one of a kind artist. RIP." Ellis is survived by his grandmother, his father and his son, Breon, as well as seven siblings.

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