'True Blood’ Star Nelsan Ellis Died From Alcohol Withdrawal Complications

By Victoria Kim 07/11/17

The beloved actor's family issued a statement about his battle with addiction as "a cautionary tale" to help others.

Image: 
Nelsan Ellis

Actor Nelsan Ellis died of heart failure over the weekend after attempting to quit alcohol on his own. 

Rather than shy away from the impact that years of substance use had on the actor, instead his family shared the details surrounding his death with The Hollywood Reporter

“Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years,” the actor's manager said on behalf of the family. 

“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…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 39-year-old hailed from Illinois and was a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School. He was known for playing the lovable Lafayette Reynolds on True Blood and Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic Get on Up, as well as his roles in The Soloist, The Help, and The Butler.

The symptoms/severity of alcohol withdrawal varies by person, but can be fatal for some. Symptoms can range from mild insomnia to delirium tremens (DTs) and even death.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include elevated blood pressure, excessive sweating and shaking, irritability, anxiety, agitation, seizures, and hallucinations. 

In severe cases, individuals may experience delirium tremens (DTs), characterized by disorientation, severe agitation, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and fever. DTs may last up to 3 or 4 days, according to Dr. Richard Saitz in “Introduction to Alcohol Withdrawal,” a paper published on the website of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

According to Saitz, “about 5% of patients who experience DTs die from metabolic or cardiovascular complications, trauma or infections.”

One should never detox from alcohol alone. A person going through withdrawal should be monitored by a medical professional.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Disqus comments
IMG_0717.jpg

Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

Disqus comments