Days after his death, the family of True Blood star Nelsan Ellis has shared the circumstances of his death, revealing that the actor has died during an alcohol withdrawal phase that he was going through on his own.

When the death of Nelsan Ellis was announced on Saturday, July 8, the world was in shock. The actor, who was portraying Lafayette Reynolds in the highly popular fantasy series True Blood, was only 39-years-old when his heart gave out.  A large number of friends and fans offered their condolences and paid a tribute to the late star.

On July 11, Ellis’ father shared with the readers of The Hollywood Reporter the details surrounding his son’s death. He stated that Nelsan had been in and out of rehab for years, struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Recently, he has planned to give up alcohol on his own, unassisted by professionals. The consequences were a blood infection, kidney failure, liver failure. High blood pressure and ultimately a heart attack.

“Nelsan was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life”, his father said, adding that the reason for this confession stands in this tragic event becoming “as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others.”

Nelsan Ellis passed away on July 8, at the Woodhull Hospital, New York City. He had spent there the last four days of his life.


Nelsan Ellis portrayed Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood.


His TV career included, aside from 6 years on True Blood, recurrent appearances on Elementary in 2016 and 2017, and on The Inside, from 2005 to 2006. He also appeared on The Express (2008), The Soloist (2009), The Help (2011), The Butler (2013), Get On Up (2014), The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015), Little Boxes (2016) and True to the Game (2017).