Drug & Booze Tragedy: 'True Blood' Star Nelsan Ellis' Family Reveals Addiction Led To Death

Jul. 10 2017, Updated 5:12 p.m. ET

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Nelsan Ellis died over the weekend, and now the former True Blood star's family is coming forward with the devastating details behind the 39-year-old's death.

As RadarOnline.com previously reported, the star unexpectedly passed away on Saturday due to a heart attack stemming from alcohol withdrawal difficulties. Ellis, who played flamboyant Lafayette Reynolds on the hit HBO vampire show, struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for the several years leading up to his death.

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And now, in an effort to bring awareness to the seriousness of addiction, the late actor's family has released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, via his manager Emily Gerson Saines:

"Nelsan's father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan's heart failure. 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.

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."

Nelsan Ellis is survived by his grandmother, Alex Brown,, his father, Tommie Lee Thompson, and his son, Breon Ellis, as well as four sisters and three brothers. May he rest in peace.

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