The funeral of US film star and comedian Bernie Mac has taken place with mourners gathering in Chicago's House of Hope church on the city's South Side.

Samuel L Jackson was among thousands of mourners who gathered to pay their respects, which halted traffic for several blocks in the area.

Jackson, who had made the movie Soul Men with Mac, said he "was always that kid from Chicago who wanted to make everybody laugh".

Mac died aged 50 last week from complications caused by pneumonia.

Jackson, who spoke at the church, added that he was aware the comedian was "having some health issues, but always said to me every morning that he was good".

"He never turned down that kid for an autograph," added the actor.

Chicago mayor Richard Daley also paid tribute to Mac's local roots, saying "he never lost his soul in Chicago", adding that he recently asked how he could help fight crime in the city.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama sent a letter of condolence which was read out at the service.

The comedian spent years as a stand-up before breaking into Hollywood

He starred in his own television show and a number of Hollywood films, including Ocean's Eleven and its sequel's.

17/08/2008 14:21:30