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The family of Nelsan Ellis is shedding more light on the True Blood star’s untimely death. On Monday — just two days after his passing, Ellis’ father has revealed that his son died of heart failure stemming from symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter through his manager Emily Gerson Saines, he said the actor “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. 

On the morning of Saturday July 8th, after four days in Woodhull Hospital, Nelsan was pronounced dead. 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.

Ellis appeared in numerous film and TV shows, including The SoloistThe ButlerGet on Up and Elementary. He was a series regular on HBO’s True Blood as the fan-favorite Lafayette Reynolds. Tributes poured in over the weekend from co-stars who were heartbroken to learn of Ellis’ death.

“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,” Joe Manganiello, who worked with Ellis on HBO’s True Blood, wrote on Twitter.

Octavia Spencer, who shared the screen with Ellis in The Help and The Soloist, said they became “instant friends” after meeting on the set of the latter. Of their first encounter on set she wrote, “Needless to say, he was gorgeous, sexy. But his talent had me speechless … I miss him.”

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EXCLUSIVES

Lil Wayne Causes Pandemonium In Beverly Hills With Young Money Merch Launch!

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Smiles, hugs, fist bumps … oh my! Lil Wayne showed his fans major luv during the debut of his Young Money clothing collection.

Weezy F. Baby teamed up with Neiman Marcus to launch Young Money Merch featuring caps, jackets, t-shirts and more. Hundreds of fans showed up to the fashion retailer’s Beverly Hills store for the exclusive reveal and Wayne made sure to make it worth their while. The rapper not only signed autographs and took pics, but he genuinely connected with each and every person that he encountered. Check out the video below … it’s was great to see Wayne in such a great mood.

And, of course, if you want to grab some Young Money Merch for yourself it’s available exclusively at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills (and online).

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