True Blood star, Nelsan Ellis dies aged 39 of heart failure

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15: Nelsan Ellis attends "Little Boxes" Premiere during the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at Chelsea Bow Tie Cinemas on April 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)

Nelsan Ellis, an actor best known for his role in the vampire series “True Blood,” has died. He was 39 years old. The actor died following complications from heart failure, his manager told CNN.

His portrayal of Lafayette, a gay cook and medium, helped him spring onto the acting scene after his character became a favourite of fans of the HBO drama, which ran from 2008 to 2014.

An alumnus of New York’s prestigious Juilliard performing arts conservatory, Ellis’s credits include silver screen appearances in 2009’s “The Soloist” as well as 2011’s Oscar-award winning film “The Help.”

The Illinois native also depicted Martin Luther King Jr in “The Butler,” released in 2013.