In Memoriam 2017: People We Lost This Year

We bid farewell to visionaries, iconoclasts and trailblazers – including Tom Petty, Chuck Berry and Chris Cornell – in music, film, TV and beyond

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Nelsan Ellis
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Nelsan Ellis

Following complications from heart failure and alcohol addiction, Nelsan Ellis, the actor who portrayed Lafayette on all seven seasons of the HBO horror-drama series True Blood – with film roles in Lee Daniels' The Butler (as Martin Luther King, Jr.), Secretariat, The Help, The Stanford Prison Experiment and James Brown biopic Get On Up, died at the age of 39 in July.

"Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me," True Blood series creator Alan Ball said.

Added costar Anna Paquin: "It was an utter privilege to work with the phenomenally talented and deeply kind soul. I'm devastated by his untimely death."

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