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Date Posted: 08:52:59 07/09/03 Wed
Author: Starter
Subject: Daughter of MU great Ellis dies

Daughter of MU great Ellis dies
By DON WALKER
dwalker@journalsentinel.com
Last Updated: July 8, 2003

Nicole "Nikki" Ellis, the daughter of Marquette University basketball great Bo Ellis, loved everything about her days at Marquette: the people, the campus and the school itself.

Her mother, Cynthia, or Candy to friends, said Tuesday that her daughter, who died July 2 in Chicago, was a perfect child.

"She never gave us any problems," Candy Ellis said. "God sends messengers into our lives. And God sent Nicole."

Nicole Ellis, 24, died at the University of Chicago Hospitals after a short illness. Candy Ellis said her daughter had become ill with what the family thought was food poisoning, and had her admitted to a Chicago area hospital.

Several days later, she was transferred to the University of Chicago, where doctors detected an enlarged liver. Complications developed, Candy Ellis said, and her daughter became increasingly ill.

The family is awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Nikki Ellis was a December 2000 graduate of Marquette, majoring in criminal justice. After graduation, she moved back to Chicago to pursue a master's degree in criminal justice from Chicago State, the same school where her father was the head basketball coach for four-plus seasons.

Nikki Ellis was three courses shy of the master's degree. She expected to apply to Marquette for law school after getting the degree, her mother said.

Nikki Ellis had dreams of becoming a sports attorney.

"She was looking forward to going back to Marquette," her mother said. "She just loved the school."

While in Chicago, Nikki worked at a law firm on the advice of her mother, who wanted her daughter to make sure she liked the legal profession. At the same time, Nikki helped out at home with the Ellises' younger daughter, Christina, who has cerebral palsy.

Bo Ellis was an All-American forward for Marquette. He played in the NCAA championship game in 1974 as a freshman and in 1977 as a senior, when the Warriors won the title under coach Al McGuire. Ellis was the captain of that team.

He also served as a Marquette assistant coach for 10 years. He took the Chicago State job in March 1998 and was fired last January.

A funeral mass for Nikki Ellis is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at St. Felicitas Catholic Church in Chicago. Interment will be in St. Mary Cemetery in Chicago.

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