Nelsan Ellis, who played Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s True Blood, has died at 39 due to complications from heart failure.

Variety reports:

“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 epitaph 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.”

Celebrating my brother @NelsanEllisOfficial. 4Eva linked like Bobby Byrd and JB. We love u. We miss u. RIP.

A post shared by Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) on

In 2014, Ellis ripped his co-star Luke Grimes for leaving the show after refusing to play gay:

“If you have a child, if you have a son, and he comes out as gay, what are you going to do? You just made a statement, and it has ripple effects. I didn’t like what he did because he made a statement, and sometimes you have to take responsibility.”