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‘True Blood’ Star Nelsan Ellis’s Funeral Will Be Open to the Public

A public funeral for “True Blood” star Nelsan Ellis will be held on Saturday, July 22 at Holy Temple Cathedral in Harvey, Ill., a suburb south of Chicago.

Prior to the funeral, there will be a public viewing on Friday, July 21 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Leak & Sons Funeral Home in Country Club Hills, Ill. Pastor Tyrone Gaston will officiate Saturday’s service, starting at 11 a.m.

Ellis died July 8 from heart failure complications at age 39. His family issued a statement attributing the heart failure to longtime alcohol and drug abuse.

The actor was born in Harvey, Ill., and lived in Alabama with his aunt and siblings before moving back to Chicago at age 15. After joining the Marines for a short period of time, he studied at Illinois State University and went on to get a degree from Juilliard School. In addition to his fan-favorite role as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood,” he also appeared in “The Soloist,” “The Butler,” “Elementary,” and “The Help.”

Ellis is survived by his grandmother, his father, and his son, Breon, as well as seven siblings.

Donations may be made to Restoration Ministries’ Nelsan Ellis Foundation.

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