Bernie Mac’s funeral service had fans in the thousands, as well as family and Hollywood celebrities in attendance. Saturday, August 16th, thousands paid their respect to the beloved Bernie Mac at his memorial service at the House of Hope Church. See pictures of Bernie Mac’s Funeral below. Also a video of Mac’s funeral.
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Thousands of fans and celebrities flocked to Bernie Mac’s memorial service Saturday, where Hollywood and political celebrities fondly speak of their memories of the late Bernie Mac.
Many of Bernie Mac’s fans slept there overnight to guarantee a place inside the House of Hope for Bernie Mac’s funeral. Rev. James Meeks welcomed the mourners with a key speech “We loved and appreciated the work of Bernie Mac,” Meeks said. “We’re here to be a blessing to the family, we’re here to have fun, laugh and enjoy ourselves.”
The Chicago Tribune reported that Mac’s fellow “Original Kings of Comedy” could not hold in their grief as they broke down in tears. But Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey and D.L. Hughley tried to keep things light-hearted and would throw in a joke.
“This dude is a very popular guy,” Cedric said of Mac. “You know y’all were like `let me get four tickets to the funeral!’ He’s still the hottest ticket in town.”
Hughley recalled Mac’s interesting choice in clothing. “Bernie would wear colors that crayon hadn’t even invented,” he said.
There were huge floral arrangements around the pulpit. And gospel music was played during the memorial service. “When I Call on Jesus” was one of the songs played.
Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke saying “Bernie Mac is a serious funnyman” who loved his family and cared about the tomorrow’s youth. Jackson recalled that Mac recently told students at Crane High School that they should “live above their circumstances” and not “self-destruct.”
“Between birth and death is a dash,” Jackson said. “But between that dash between birth and death, he made a statement.”
Bernie Mac died a week ago from complications due to pneumonia. Bernie Mac also suffered from sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in tissue, most often in the lungs. This disease was thought to exacerbate his pneumonia.
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Many celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Sen. Barack Obama. Rep. Maxine Waters and the O’Jays sent their condolences.
“Michelle and I were so deeply sad to hear about your loss. … He … (made) us laugh and laugh hard,” read Obama’s statement.
Obama went on to write that Mac could say things others couldn’t. “Bernie Mac will be sorely missed,” he wrote.
Actor Samuel L. Jackson will also be speaking in the service today. Jackson is set to star with Mac and singer Isaac Hayes, who also died last weekend, in the December movie “Soul Man.”
Mayor Richard Daley spoke of Bernie Mac being at City Hall just a few weeks ago to take photos with employees. Mac wanted to talk about the 2016 Olympics, but especially about recent gun violence against the city’s youth, Daley said.
“He represented Chicago in a way (that) he knew the street, he knew the people and that’s why he’s the king of comedy,” Daley said. “He wanted to do something personally to get children away from the life of violence … he had a heart and passion … That’s why as the king of comedy, he never lost his soul in Chicago.”
Actor Andy Garcia, who starred with Mac in “Ocean’s 11,” sent along remarks, saying “I’ll see you upstairs.” Don Cheadle, another actor from that film, was in attendance.
The White Sox gave a #1 jersey with Mac’s name on it to his widow, Rhonda.
In the service, they aired a tribute to both Mac and Hayes, playing snippets of some of Mac’s famous comedy routines, without the bad language, over some of Hayes’ more famous compositions.
In the church there were burgundy cushions set up in front of the stage. On either side of the stage, two large projector screens flashed photos of Bernie Mac’s life. The photos showed film stills from Mac’s career, red carpet photos from events like the Golden Globes and private moments with friends and family members.
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It’s so tragic when the world loses such a wonderful person like Bernie Mac, a comedian that brought so much joy and laughter to so many.
Bernie Mac’s wife and daughter were with him until the very end, says the late comic’s sister-in-law in an interview with People that took place Saturday.
Bernie Mac’s wife’s sister, Mary Ann Grossett, told of the tender but heartbreaking last few moments her sister Rhonda and Bernie Mac shared, “He struggled for his life. He couldn’t breathe.”
“He opened his eyes on his own and looked at Rhonda. She called his name, and he opened his eyes and nodded to her. She smiled at him and told him, ‘Don’t leave me “¦ ‘I’m waiting for you to come back.’ He shrugged his shoulders, and she said that’s when she knew he was tired. He signaled to her that his body was tired.”
Rhonda, Mac’s wife since 1977, and their 30-year-old daughter, Je’Niece, 30, were with him when he died. “[The doctors] were working on him,” says Grossett. “They tried to resuscitate him two times. One time he came back for about an hour. Then he went into cardiac arrest the second time.”
Bernie Mac talked with his family on July 31st, “He told his wife [non-verbally] that he could breathe on his own, and he wanted the ventilator out. He motioned that he wanted it out,” says Grossett.
The sister-in-law says Mac’s inflammatory lung disease, sarcoidosis, contributed to his death. “He had sarcoidosis, but it was in remission” she says. “But because he had it, his immune system was compromised. He had an infection … He was on a new medication that suppresses the immune system, and that’s where the pneumonia came from.”
She reveals that Mac ““ having trouble breathing and running a fever ““ was actually hospitalized on July 24, eight days before the date given for his admittance. The actor was diagnosed with pneumonia and immediately placed on a ventilator.
“He was critically ill when he was in the hospital,” says Gossett. “He was in intensive care the whole time.”
She adds that doctors kept the star sedated, although he was conscious at times and he contracted a second strain of pneumonia while in the hospital.
Of her widowed sibling (like Mac, Rhonda is 50), Grossett says, “She’s devastated. However, she’s at peace about his transition because of her faith in God. Her faith is what is sustaining her.”
She says of the couple’s enduring union, “They had 30 years of marriage. That’s unprecedented in today’s time, particularly for celebrities. That brings joy to her. They loved each other and respected each other on a daily basis. She was by his side to the very end.”
Recalling the couple’s early years, when they were still in their teens, Grossett says, “When they started dating, he said, ‘Girl, you better come on board this train, because I’m going to be rich.’ And her response was, ‘Okay,’ and they were married. That’s how he charmed her, with his sense of humor.”
She adds, “When they got married they were kids. He was 20 and she was 19. They both grew up together, and they both matured in this marriage.
“What she will treasure the most is the fact that she was his wife for 30 years ““ and not only was she his wife, but she was his best friend. She’s going to miss him dearly.”
Mac’s funeral is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 15, at an undisclosed location. The family requests that donations be made to the Bernie Mac Foundation for Sarcoidosis, 40 E. Ninth St., Suite 601, Chicago IL 60605.
See a snippet of Bernie Mac’s funeral here.