True Blood star Nelsan Ellis dies at 39

A star of HBO’s vampire series True Blood, Nelsan Ellis, has died aged 39.

The actor, from Illinois and Alabama, who is best known for playing the character Lafayette Reynolds in the series, suffered complications with heart failure.

His manager Emily Gerson Saines told US website The Hollywood Reporter: “Nelsan has passed away after complications of heart failure.

“He was a great talent and his words and presence will be forever missed.”

Ellis appeared in all seven series of True Blood, a fantasy horror series about a telepathic waitress who strikes up a relationship with a 173-year-old vampire.

His character was a cook and also a drug dealer who sold vampire blood between 2008 and 2014.

He also appeared as Martin Luther King Jr in The Butler in 2012 and singer Bobby Byrd in Get on Up, a bio-pic about the life of James Brown.

Most recently he was in the independent film Little Boxes in 2016 and CBS series Elementary as the regular character Shinwell Johson.

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