Nelsan Ellis, the actor best known for his role in HBO's True Blood, has passed away at the age of 39.

A statement released by Ellis' manager says that the actor died following complications from heart failure. Alan Ball, who was the creator and showrunner of True Blood, said that Ellis "was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege."

Ellis was also a series regular on the US version of Sherlock Holmes, Elementary, in which he played Shinwell Johnson. As well as TV work, Ellis also had a supporting role in Lee Daniels' The Butler, where he played Martin Luther King, and was in the James Brown biopic Get On Up, where he played Bobby Byrd.