*Wow! This is a total shocker. Nelsan Ellis – best known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood” — has died after complications from heart failure. He was only 39.

Ellis also appeared in “The Help,” and starred in the TV show, “Elementary.” He also appeared in the moves, “Get On Up” and “The Stanford Prison Experiment” … and played Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement. “Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of ‘True Blood.’ Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.”

“True Blood” creator and executive producer Alan Ball echoed HBO’s thoughts in a statement of his own.

“Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me,” said Ball. “Working with him was a privilege.”

RELATED: JILL SCOTT AND NELSAN ELLIS SHARE FAVORITE SCENES FROM ‘GET ON UP’ (WATCH)

 

So far no word on the underlying problem that triggered the heart failure.

Nelsan Ellis leaves behind his son, Breon, and seven siblings.

Developing …