Mourners gathered at a Catholic mass in Santa Monica on Tuesday morning to remember the life of Bill Rosendahl, the "larger-than-life" former Los Angeles city councilman who died at 70 last month after a long bout with cancer.
The service at St. Monica's Church began at 10 a.m., with a eulogy by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and readings by Rosendahl's friends and family.
Many of Southern California’s well-known leaders came, including Congresswoman Janice Hahn, former Rep. Jane Harman and City Council President Herb Wesson.
Rosendahl was remembered as a beloved civil servant who was especially passionate about helping the homeless and the powerless.
"An incredible champion for people who had really come to the ends of their ropes and who felt disenfranchised in the city of Los Angeles,” Hahn said. “He was their champion, he was their warrior. Honestly, Bill Rosendahl was the most generous, hospitable, big-hearted person I have ever known in my own life."
Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was on his way back from a trip to Washington D.C. during the service, was expected to speak at a later event honoring Rosendahl, whom was often described by Garcetti as the "conscience of the City Council."
Rosendahl, a former cable TV executive and public affairs broadcaster, was the first openly gay man elected to the council, serving the Westside from 2005 to 2013. He retired to fight stage-four cancer.
Toward the end of his tenure in office, Rosendahl was an ardent supporter of medical marijuana, which he used to fight the side effects of his cancer treatments.
In 1968, Rosendahl worked for the presidential campaigns of Eugene McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy. He enlisted in the U.S. Army the following year.
On April 16, an event in Mar Vista Park called "GREAT GREAT GREAT: A Celebration of Life," will also honor Rosendahl.
The public is welcome to RSVP for the services and make donations to three organizations in lieu of flowers here.
City News Service contributed to this report.