Belfast Telegraph

Nelsan Ellis' heart failure caused by substance abuse issues

The actor was trying to give up alcohol at the time of his death.

True Blood star Nelsan Ellis' family has revealed he died of heart failure due to addiction.

The actor, who is best known for portraying Lafayette Reynolds on the hit HBO vampire show, passed away at the age of 39 from heart failure complications in Los Angeles on Saturday (08Jul17).

At the time of his death, details about his heart issues were not revealed, but his manager has now issued a statement, revealing he suffered from drug and alcohol addiction.

"Nelsan's father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan's heart failure," a statement from Emily Gerson Saines to The Hollywood Reporter reads. "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."

Saines explains the actor didn't want to talk about his substance abuse issues because of shame, but his family is hoping they can help others by sharing his story.

"On the morning of Saturday July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead," the statement continues. "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 in an attempt to help others."

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