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

Nelsan Ellis
Nelsan Ellis attends the 'Little Boxes' Premiere during 2016 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 15, 2016. Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Rest in paradise. Funeral services for former True Blood star Nelsan Ellis, who died on July 8, will be open to the public, according to a statement made by his family on Friday, July 14.

A public viewing will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 21, in Country Club Hills, Illinois, and the funeral is scheduled for Saturday, July 22, at 11 a.m. at Holy Temple Cathedral in Harvey, Illinois, Ellis’ family said in a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times.

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Illinois is where the talented actor, who also starred in Elementary, spent a large portion of his life; he was born in Harvey, went to Thornridge High School in Dolton and attended Illinois State University before obtaining a scholarship to the Julliard School in New York, where he studied acting.

Ellis rose to fame playing Lafayette Reynolds, a fearless and outspoken gay character — and a fan favorite — in HBO’s hit series True Blood. He also had notable parts in The Help, Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Secretariat.

As Us Weekly previously reported, his family confirmed in a statement that Ellis had suffered complications relating to alcohol addiction withdrawal, leading to his death at the age of 39.

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“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 family said in the statement.

“Nelsan was a gentle, generous and kind soul,” the statement continued. “He was a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, a nephew, and a great friend to those that were lucky enough to know him. Nelsan 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.”

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Ellis is survived by his son, Breon, and seven siblings: Lakeeia Thomson, Tommie Lee Thompson, Babon Ellis, Maurice Turne, Tianna Thompson, Shaentika Beard and Yvonne Ellis.

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