The actor's manager, Emily Gerson Saines, told THR, "Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure. He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed."
Following the news, HBO, "True Blood" creator Alan Ball and others mourned the loss.
The actor 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,'" read a statement released by HBO about the news of Ellis' death.
"Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me," Ball said. "Working with him was a privilege."
Ellis' "True Blood" co-star Joe Manganiello shared similar sentiments, saying he was "crushed" and that the actor was "a wonderful person, a pioneer, and a one of a kind artist."
As Entertainment Weekly notes, Octavia Spencer, who starred with Ellis in "Get On Up," also remembered the actor in an Instagram post, saying, "Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family."
Fans took to Twitter to mourn and remember some iconic Lafayette moments:
In addition to "True Blood" and "Get On Up," the actor also appeared in "The Help," "Lee Daniels' The Butler," and the TV show "Elementary."
Ellis is reportedly survived by a number of family members, including his son, Breon Ellis.