Ellis played Lafayette Reynolds on the HBO show.

Nelsan Ellis, the actor best known for his role in the vampire fantasy True Blood, has died at age 39.

Nelsan Ellis, the actor best known for his role in the vampire fantasy True Blood, has died at age 39.

Evan Agostini / AP

Ellis's manager, Emily Gerson Saines, confirmed the actor's death to BuzzFeed News.

Saines told the Hollywood Reporter that Ellis had died after complications with heart failure.

"He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed," Saines said.

On HBO's True Blood, Ellis played Lafayette Reynolds, a short order cook, medium, and vampire blood dealer. The character was killed off in the books, but survived all seven seasons of the TV show due to Ellis's popularity.

Ellis as Lafayette Reynolds in "True Blood"

HBO

True Blood creator Alan Ball praised the actor in a statement to BuzzFeed News: "Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege."

Ellis was also known for his roles in movies Get On Up and The Help.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, HBO said the network was "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," the statement said. "Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO."


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