Ellis was best known for his role as short order cook Lafayette on the HBO drama. His character was killed off in the original book series, but Lafayette survived the series, which ended in August 2014, because Ellis turned the character into a fan-favorite.
Several celebrities took to social media to mourn the actor and offer condolences to his family and friends.
Read on for their heartfelt reactions to Ellis' passing.
Michael Raymond-James and Joe Manganiello
"Unbelievably sad news. Nelsan was such a sweet, gentle soul with an enormous talent. He will be missed greatly RIP," Raymond-James wrote.
Unbelievably sad news. Nelsan was such a sweet, gentle soul with an enormous talent. He will be missed greatly RIP https://t.co/NDdoaeM6Pj— MichaelRaymond-James (@MRaymondJames) July 8, 2017
"Crushed today by the loss of my friend and castmate Nelsan Ellis. He was a wonderful person, a pioneer, and a one of a kind artist. RIP," Joe Manganiello wrote.
Crushed today by the loss of my friend and castmate Nelsan Ellis. He was a wonderful person, a pioneer, and a one of a kind artist. RIP pic.twitter.com/fvtquhIac7— Joe Manganiello (@JoeManganiello) July 8, 2017
HBO also remembered Ellis in a statement honoring the actor's portrayal of Lafayette. 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."prevnext
Octavia Spencer, who worked with Ellis on a number of projects including Get on Up, The Help and The Soloist, took to Instagram to remember the actor.
"Just got word that we lost @nelsanellisofficial. My heart breaks for his kids and family," Spencer wrote, adding hastags calling Ellis a brilliant actor and noting his many film and television projects.
Matthew A. Cherry & Rickey Smiley
Rest In Peace Nelsan Ellis. Gone too soon. pic.twitter.com/MrPyr8LFmv— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) July 8, 2017