Nelsan Ellis’ former True Blood costars joined mourners at his funeral in Chicago on Saturday.
Ellis, who died on July 8 due to heart failure complications at the age of 39, was celebrated by his family and friends at the Holy Temple Cathedral near Chicago, an event that was open to the public. The actor was best known for portraying Lafayette on HBO’s True Blood and also starred in films like The Help and Get On Up.
Attendees included True Blood alumni Anna Paquin, Carrie Preston, and Rutina Wesley, as well as Viola Davis and Tika Sumpter, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. According to the Sun-Times, scores of mourners filled the cathedral, as “celebrities sat in one area, Viola Davis at the front, and family and friends took up the other three sections.”
Mourners at the funeral received programs like the one below:
Ellis’ family released a statement earlier this month saying the actor “suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years” and that a recent attempt to “withdraw from alcohol on his own” played a part in his death. Ellis is survived by his son, Breon; his grandmother, Alex Brown; his father, Tommie Lee Thompson; his siblings Lakeeia Thomson, Tommie Lee Thompson, Babon Ellis, Maurice Turne, Tianna Thompson, Shaentika Beard, and Yvonne Ellis; and his aunt Tartheaia Thompson.