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Details on actor Nelsan Ellis’ funeral

Details on actor Nelsan Ellis' funeral
Photo credit: JStone /

“True Blood” actor Nelsan Ellis has been laid to rest.

On Saturday, July 22, Ellis, who died at age 39 just over two weeks ago, was buried at the Holy Temple Cathedral in his home state of Illinois.

Several of Ellis’ “True Blood” co-stars, including Anna Paquin (Sookie), Carrie Preston (Arlene, and Rutina Wesley (Tara, attended the funeral, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Wesley was a longtime friend of Ellis and shared her sentiments in an emotional poem, shortly after news of his death.

“He was a lover, he loved everything which is why people didn’t understand him. That’s the beauty of it. He thought everything was beautiful. Everything. So poetic, charasmatic, an energy none can compare…one who touched so many forever, deep, in places they cannot reach….a spirit so divine and fine….a chameleon…transforming before you and you….transforming because of him. He could move your soul to whole….in a moment….an arTeest!…like nothing I’ve seen or will ever see again. A darkness wrapped up in light, tight, yearning…searching…moving seas of hearts with a smile that darts…right through you….how I loved you…fiercely vulnerable shining beacon…stand tall my friend, rest, peace has finally found you…..” wrote Wesley, per “Entertainment Tonight”.

Viola Davis, who starred with Ellis in the films The Help and Get on Up was also in attendance.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, there was also a public viewing for Ellis on Friday at the Leak and Sons Funeral Home.

As previously reported, Ellis, who had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, died from heart complications on July 8 after he reportedly attempted to withdraw from alcohol without any assistance.

“Nelsan’s father has bravely agreed for me to share the circumstances of Nelsan’s heart failure. Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years. After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to his father, 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,” his manager, Emily Gerson Saines told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.

Ellis is survived by his son, Breon, as well as his grandmother, Alex Brown, and his father, Tommie Lee Thompson. He is also survived by siblings Lakeeia Thomson, Tommie Lee Thompson, Babon Ellis, Maurice Turne, Tianna Thompson, Shaentika Beard and Yvonne Ellis and aunt Tartheaia Thompson.

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