HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 17: Actor Nelsan Ellis arrives at HBO's "True Blood" Final Season Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 17, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Yvonne Juris
July 22, 2017 04:55 PM

Nelsan Ellis — the actor known for his role of Lafayette on True Blood who died at the age of 39 — was laid to rest on Saturday at the Holy Temple Cathedral in his home state of Illinois.

Several of Ellis’ costars, including his  True Blood castmates, attended his funeral, according to E! News.

Stars from True Blood included Anna Paquin, who played Sookie; Carrie Preston, who played Arlene, and Rutina Wesley, who played Tara, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Wesley was a longtime friend of Ellis and penned an emotional tribute to him which she shared last week.

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

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

Michael Buckner/Getty

Ellis, who had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for years, died from heart complications on July 8 after he reportedly attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own.

In a statement released on July 10 by Ellis’ manager Emily Gerson Saines to The Hollywood Reporter, Saines said that Ellis’ father had explained that the actor started going into heart failure after he attempted to withdraw from alcohol. Ellis also had many “stints in rehab” before trying to withdraw without any assistance.

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 his siblings Lakeeia Thomson, Tommie Lee Thompson, Babon Ellis, Maurice Turne, Tianna Thompson, Shaentika Beard and Yvonne Ellis and aunt Tartheaia Thompson.

Memorial donations may be made to the Nelsan Ellis Foundation. Flowers and gifts may be sent to Leak & Sons Funeral Home.

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