Nelsan Ellis has been laid to rest.
The 'True Blood' actor - who died from heart complications on July 8 following years battling drug and alcohol abuse - was remembered at a public funeral service at the Holy Temple Cathedral in his home state of Illinois on Saturday (22.07.17), with the likes of his 'True Blood' castmates Anna Paquin, Rutina Wesley and Carrie Preston, and 'Get on Up' and 'The Help' co-star Viola Davis in attendance.
Viola and her husband Julius Tennon spoke during the service, with the 51-year-old actress describing Nelsan - who reportedly tried to withdraw from alcohol on his own before his death - as her "baby".
She told the 500 mourners: "He was like my baby. When I saw that he was sick, I begged him to get better because I didn't want to let him go. I still don't want to let him go."
Former US President Barack Obama was unable to attend the service, but sent a letter and urged those present to reflect on his memory and remember his legacy.
He wrote: "Nelsan inspired those around him and a generation of Americans through his own story of overcoming adversity.
"He will be remembered through his stellar performances and will live on through the beauty of the art he created."
The actor's father, Tommie Thompson, was tearful and spoke of the "wonderful" relationship he had with his son, while Nelsan's friend Artel Great also spoke to those gathered.
Nelsan had been best man for his friend's wedding last year, and Artel recalled how they shared their anxieties and hopes for the future with one another.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, he added: "Nelsan was a person who was the personification of love. He changed all of our lives merely with his presence."
And another old friend, Metra Gilliard, said: "He loved us more than he loved himself."
Following the service, Nelsan was buried at Cedar Park Cemetery next to his grandmother and grandfather.