Nelsan Ellis’s Family Issues Statement

Nelsan Ellis attends the premiere of HBO's "True Blood" on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 in Los Angeles. Season five of "True Blood" premieres Sunday, June 10 on HBO.  (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

The family of former True Blood star Nelsan Ellis have revealed the exact circumstances of his death. In a statement, released through the late actor’s manager, Emily Gerson Saines, on Monday, Ellis’ family said his heart failure was brought on by alcohol withdrawal.

The family said that the 39-year-old actor ‘suffered from drug and alcohol abuse for years’ and recently tried to ‘withdraw from alcohol on his own’ after ‘many stints in rehab’. ‘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,’ Saines told The Hollywood Reporter. ‘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,’ the statement reads.

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