Nelsan Ellis’s Family Shares the Circumstances of His Death to Help Those Living With Addictions

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Nelsan Ellis. Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Tribeca Film

True Blood actor Nelsan Ellis died at 39 on Saturday after spending years living with addictions to drugs and alcohol. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, his family shared the circumstances of his death, which was due to heart failure related to complications from withdrawal from alcohol. “After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own,” the statement reads. “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 actor’s family added that they shared the circumstances of his death in an effort to help others with similar addictions. “Nelsan was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life,” the statement says. “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 Died of Complications From Alcohol Withdrawal