More details have emerged in the death of actor Nelsan Ellis, best known for his memorable portrayal of Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood” who died at the age of 39.

TMZ.com is reporting that Ellis’ family says that the actor’s struggles with drug and alcohol abuse were contributing factors to his death.

The actor’s family said Nelsan, who died Saturday, struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for years and his latest attempt to stop on his own led to his death, reports TMZ.

“During his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control,” the family said.

Nelsan, they continued, “was ashamed of his addiction and thus was reluctant to talk about it during his life. His family, however, believes that in death he would want his life to serve as a cautionary tale in an attempt to help others.”

Ellis’ manager, Emily Gerson Saines, confirmed the actor’s death in an email Saturday. The Hollywood Reporter, which was first to report Ellis’ death, quoted her as saying the actor died from complications of heart failure.