Actor and comedian Bernie Mac was laid to rest today in Chicago.
Thousands of fans gathered at Chicago’s House of Hope church on Saturday to attend the public memorial for Mac, who died one week ago from complications with pneumonia. He was 50.
Emotional speeches were delivered comedian Chris Rock, Rev. Jesse Jackson and actor Samuel L. Jackson, Mac’s costar in the upcoming flick Soul Men, a film that also features the late Isaac Hayes.
Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey and DL Hughley, all fellow “Kings of Comedy” who toured with Mac. sat together in the church and were reportedly in tears during the service. They appeared together on CNN’s Larry King live last week and shared their memories of Mac.
When they took the stage, the performers bucked up and remembered their friend.
“This dude is a very popular guy,” said Cedric, according to the Chicago Tribune. “You know y’all were like ‘let me get four tickets to the funeral!’ He’s still the hottest ticket in town.”
Hughley joked about Mac’s wardrobe: “Bernie would wear colors that Crayola hadn’t even invented,” he said.
The Tribune reported that Oprah Winfrey, Sen. Barack Obama and actor Andy Garcia sent written condolences, and the Chicago White Sox, Mac’s home team, sent his wife Rhonda, a jersey with his name on it.
Isaac Hayes was also honored at the tribute. Hayes died the day after Mac at age 65. A photo montage from Mac’s career was set to Hayes’ best-known songs.
The city’s mayor, Richard Daly, addressed the large crowd, crediting Mac as a man who made Chicago a safer place.
“He wanted to do something personally to get children away from the life of violence,” said Daly. “He had a heart and passion… That’s why as the king of comedy, he never lost his soul in Chicago.”