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Nelsan Ellis' family release statement about his death: 'He would want his life to serve as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others'

Nelsan Ellis was best known for his role as Lafayette in HBO's True Blood

nelsan ellis
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
11 July 2017
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Nelsan Ellis' family have issued a statement through his manager, Emily Gerson Saines, following his untimely death aged just 39-years-old. In the statement, which was released to the Hollywood Reporter, Nelson's family confirmed that the True Blood star had struggled with alcohol addiction, and grew ill after suffering from withdrawal while trying to quit.

nelsan ellis© Photo: Getty Images

Nelsan struggled with alcohol addiction

The statement read: "Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years. 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."

It continued: "On the morning of Saturday July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead. Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul. He was a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, and a great friend to those that were lucky enough to know him. 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."

true blood

Nelsan was best known for his role as Lafayette 

Nelsan's co-stars from the hit HBO fantasy show took to social media to pay tribute to him, with Stephen Moyer writing: "Nelsan Ellis was truly remarkable. A brilliant, charismatic, intelligent, soulful, wonderful dude. This is just completely tragic." Anna Paquin added: "It was an utter privilege to work with the phenomenally talented and deeply kind soul. I'm devastated by his untimely death."

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