Nelsan Ellis of HBO’s True Blood passed away over the weekend at the tender age of 39.
His death was a result of heart failure, as confirmed by his manager. His manager released another statement regarding his health explaining his long history with drug and alcohol use:
“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. … Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul. … 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.”
During his attempt to stop drinking, Ellis suffered from kidney failure, blood infection, and his heart began to race uncontrollably.
You may also remember Ellis from Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” as Martin Luther King Jr. and as singer Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic “Get On Up.”