Family of 39-Year-Old ‘True Blood’ Actor Reveals His Secret Battle With Addiction After He Died From Heart Failure Due to Sudden Alcohol Withdrawal

As they mourn, Nelsan Ellis’ family is bravely speaking out.

In the wake of the True Blood star’s death on Saturday at 39 due to complications from heart failure, Ellis’ family has released a statement via the actor’s manager to The Hollywood Reporter, candidly revealing his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. Read below:

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.

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SOURCE: Entertainment Tonight, Alex Ungerman