Funeral Service Set for 'True Blood' Star Nelsan Ellis

Courtesy of Emily Gerson Saines
Nelsan Ellis

The beloved actor died July 8 due to heart failure. He was 39.

The public viewing and funeral for True Blood star Nelsan Ellis were announced Friday.

Ellis died July 8 due to heart failure. He was 39.

A celebration of his life will occur in his home state of Illinois with a public viewing on July 21 from 6-9 p.m. at Leak & Sons Funeral Home. His funeral will be held the following day at Holy Temple Cathedral at 11 a.m., according to the Ellis family.

Days after the actor's passing, Ellis' family, through his manager, Emily Gerson Saines, announced the beloved actor struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for years and said that is what led to his untimely death.

The family made Ellis' struggle public in hopes that it might help others who are afflicted with similar battles.

News of his passing rocked Hollywood, with many colleagues and fans expressing their shock and devastation when they learned of his death.

Ellis was born in Harvey, Ill. He attended Thornridge High School in Dolton, and he later attended Oxford University and Columbia College in Chicago before graduating from the famed Juilliard School.

Ellis was best known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in HBO's True Blood, but he appeared in numerous other films and TV shows, including The Soloist, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Get on Up and Elementary.

Memorial donations may be made to: Restoration Ministries, Nelsan Ellis Foundation, 6043 Holman Ave., Hammond, IN 46320.

Flowers and gifts may be sent to Leak & Sons Funeral Home, 18400 S. Pulaski Blvd., County Club Hills, IL 60478.