MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Family and friends will be saying their goodbyes to a longtime community activist in the Twin Cities Thursday. Funeral services are set for Thursday afternoon for Mel Reeves.

Reeves died last week due to complications from COVID-19 at age 64. He was a fixture at rallies, protests and marches. For more than three decades in total, Reeves was on the front lines of the fight for social justice.

Just the week before, Reeves spoke to WCCO-TV while in the hospital. At that time, he was getting better. However, his condition later worsened and he ended up in the ICU. He died Thursday, Jan. 6.

From his hospital bed, Reeves told WCCO that he wanted to urge people to get vaccinated, particularly in the Black community.

The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, where Reeves was the community editor, announced his death, saying that Reeves was a “true champion of the underdog with a heart for social justice.”

A community viewing was held Wednesday at Estes Funeral Chapel. On Thursday afternoon, there will be a celebration of life service. It will be held at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, but will also be made available to stream online.

Online tributes filled local social media channels as news of Reeves’ death spread in the Twin Cities. Among when was a statement from Gov. Tim Walz.

“Mel Reeves left a remarkable legacy,” the governor wrote. “As a journalist, civil rights activist, and community leader, he informed and inspired generations of Minnesotans. I’m terribly sorry to hear of his passing. Gwen and I will keep his loved ones in our prayers.”