Nelsan Ellis’ cause of death is now being linked to his drug and alcohol abuse based on a statement from his bereaved family on the circumstances of his demise.
According to a statement released by Ellis’ family through his manager Emily Gerson Saines as cited by Hollywood Reporter on Monday, the deceased actor’s death was caused by complications of his withdrawal from his alcohol and drug addiction.
“Nelsan’s father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan’s heart failure,” the statement read.
Based on the family’s statement, Nelsan, who is widely known and renowned for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in HBO’s True Blood, had been in and out of rehab because of alcohol and drug abuse. The matter has never been made public because he was ashamed of it, the family adds before revealing circumstances surrounding Nelsan Ellis’ cause of death.
He even tried to withdraw from the addiction on his own, which may have caused his sudden death. Initially, Nelsan Ellis’ cause of death was revealed to be heart failure.
“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 39-year-old LGBTQ icon and beloved actor passed away on Saturday after being treated for four days at Woodhull Medical Center in New York City, per a report from the Los Angeles Times.
The family decided to release a statement on the circumstances surrounding Nelsan Ellis’ cause of death because they believed that he would have wanted his story to be “a cautionary tale” to others who suffer the same addiction and let them know that it is okay to get help.
“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.”
In the statement, the bereaved family also remembered Nelsan as the wonderful person that he is.
“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.”
Upon learning of his death, friends and co-workers in Hollywood, who were touched by Nelsan’s talent during his life, shared their deepest sympathies to his family and expressed their regret about his demise.
“Nelsan was a longtime member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of True Blood. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO,” HBO said in a statement released on Saturday.
Nelsan Ellis, our Lafayette, will be dearly missed by his fans, his True Blood family and all of us at HBO. pic.twitter.com/suBWrjvI4i
— True Blood (@TrueBloodHBO) July 10, 2017
Meanwhile, his True Blood co-stars took to social media to express their sadness for losing a great actor and an awesome friend.
Crushed today by the loss of my friend and castmate Nelsan Ellis. He was a wonderful person, a pioneer, and a one of a kind artist. RIP pic.twitter.com/fvtquhIac7
— Joe Manganiello (@JoeManganiello) July 8, 2017
— Anna Paquin (@AnnaPaquin) July 8, 2017
His friends and cast of The Help took to Instagram to remember his life as they mourn his untimely death.
Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family. #RIPNelsanEllis. #brillIantactor #trueblood #getonup #thesoloist #thehelp. The first time I met him was on the set of the soloist and we were at rehearsal with a lot of the homeless cast members, and Nelsan was playing our counselor. He walked in wearing a pair of fitted camo cargo pants, a pristine white tshirt, a beret, and a denim jacket. Needless to say he was gorgeous, sexy. But his talent had me speechless. We became instant friends after that. He was sooooo funny. I miss him. #nelsanellis
Aside from becoming an icon because of his portrayal of Lafayette in True Blood, Ellis also played Henry the Waiter in The Help, Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2013’s The Butler, Bobby Byrd in Get On Up, and many others. He will still be seen in the upcoming 2017 movie True to the Game where he co-stars with Columbus Short.
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[Featured Image by HBO]