'Little Boxes' Premiere - 2016 Tribeca Film FestivalWhile the "True Blood" family is mourning the loss of one of its own, Nelsan Ellis, the actor's family is grieving as well. As part of the process, they're sharing heartbreaking details about his cause of death to serve as a "cautionary tale."

Ellis, who played Lafayette Reynolds on the HBO series, died Saturday of heart failure. On Monday, his family revealed that the condition was related to his attempt to withdraw from alcohol on his own. As they explained in a statement released through his manager, Emily Gerson Saines, he had a blood infection, which caused damage to his kidneys and liver, and ultimately, his heart.

The actor had apparently been battling substance abuse issues "for years." According to the statement, he was "ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life." However, his family believes he would now want them to speak out "in an attempt to help others."

Ellis's family described him as "a gentle, generous, and kind soul," as well as "a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, and a great friend to those that were lucky enough to know him." His untimely death is certainly tragic, but hopefully this information about his life will indeed have a positive impact on others.

[via: Variety]