The entertainment industry lost a talent and the world lost a light today with the tragic passing of Nelsan Ellis at age 39. News broke earlier today that he passed away due to complications from heart failure. At such a young age with so much life left ahead of him, the news hit fans as well as friends and family hard.
Emily Gerson Saines, Nelsan’s publicist, said this of his passing.
‘Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure. He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.‘
Nelsan was well known for his role on True Blood as Lafayette Reynolds and his portrayal of the character is part of what made the series what it was, but he left a mark on Hollywood outside of True Blood as well.
From Elementary to The Inside and appearances on Veronica Mars to RuPaul’s Drag Race his face and his contribution to acting won’t soon be forgotten. It’s not just the big jobs he did well at either, he made a name for himself and won a huge award before he hit film and television.
He excelled at Julliard, writing and performing a semi-autobiographical play entitled Ugly. The play won him the Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award. The story was a personal and painful one, focused on his sister’s murder at the hands of her husband. She was pregnant at the time.
Many of Nelsan’s friends paid tribute to him as the news spread.
— Anna Paquin (@AnnaPaquin) July 8, 2017
My heart is broken today over the loss of @OfficialNelsan I was in complete awe of your talent and so honored to have known your kindness.
— Anna Camp (@TheRealAnnaCamp) July 8, 2017
— Lauren Bowles (@LaurenEBowles) July 8, 2017
So blessed to share the screen with you you beautiful man. pic.twitter.com/DCD6WLAdJn
— Todd Lowe (@Todd__Lowe) July 8, 2017
We’re sending our love and condolences to Nelsan’s friends and family during this time. We hope you always find his light.
‘…but I knew him’