Nelsan Ellis’ Family Says Alcohol Withdrawal Contributed To His Death

Nelsan Ellis, an actor on the HBO series True Blood, died due to heart failure over the weekend at the age of 39. Fans of the show sent their condolences via social media, and the family has released a statement about his passing to The Hollywood Reporter

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According to the family, Ellis struggled with drugs and alcohol for many years, and his withdrawal from alcohol contributed to his demise.

“Nelsan’s father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan’s heart failure,” said the family via his manager, Emily Gerson Saines. “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.”

The family is also hoping those who are struggling with addiction will see Nelsan’s passing as a lesson to learn from.

“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.”

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Ellis was seen in True Blood as Lafayette Reynolds, as well as in shows and films like The Help, Get On Up, and Elementary.