James Gandolfini dead at 51: Actor's sister arrives in Rome as autopsy confirms heart attack killed 'Sopranos' star
The Emmy-award winner and HBO star died of a heart attack while in Rome with his 13-year-old son. Family hopes to bring Gandolfini's body home by Wednesday with a funeral to follow by Saturday.
JOSEPHINE MCKENNA IN ROME
/ NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.
An autopsy found Emmy-winning
died of a sudden heart attack inside a Rome hotel room - with no signs of drug or alcohol abuse, a family friend said Friday.
The results were made public as hotel officials angrily denounced published reports that the star of "The Sopranos" binged on booze and food before his shocking death.
Family friend Michael Kobold, at a Rome news conference, said the autopsy determined Gandolfini was killed by a heart attack during a father-son getaway in Italy.
According to Kobold, the Gandolfini family was working with the Italian government in an effort to quickly return the remains to the United States. His body was released to an Italian funeral home.
James Gandolfini attended the Hollywood premiere of ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ his second-to-last film.
Though the process can take up to 10 days, the Gandolfini family hoped to bring his body home by next Wednesday with a New York funeral to follow by Saturday, June 29, at the latest, Kobold said.
There was no evidence of drug use, alcohol abuse or foul play in the hulking TV mob boss' death, the Gandolfini pal said. The acclaimed actor was found by his 13-year-old son.
ERNESTO RUSCIO/GETTY IMAGES
The 51-year-old actor's body was taken to the Umberto Hospital morgue.
"There's nothing out of the ordinary," said Kobold. "It was a heart attack. It was a natural cause. There was no foul play, no substance abuse. None of that."
Kobold, asked specifically if the 260-pound Gandolfini had a history of heart trouble, said his friend was healthy.
MIKE STOBE/GETTY IMAGES
The New York Yankees have a moment of silence for actor James Gandolfini on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.
Gandolfini arrived Tuesday with his son Michael, and the pair "had a wonderful day" before the fatal cardiac incident, Kobold said.
"James came here on vacation, meeting his family," said Kobold. "He had a wonderful day - he visited the Vatican, he had dinner at the hotel with his son, awaiting the arrival of his sister."
A second news conference by officials at the Hotel Exedra was "expressly held to completely deny what some newspapers wrote about what he ate and drank," said a spokeswoman.
Gandolfini's family "completely denies everything" about reports regarding his meal at an outdoor table in the historic Trastevere neighborhood, the spokeswoman said.
A manager at the restaurant Sabatini's told the Daily News that Gandolfini arrived with his son for a low-key evening overlooking the stunning piazza.
"They were very quiet," said manager Roberto Alessandrelli. "They ate very moderately. It was a hot night, so there was even less reason to eat a great deal."
SPLASH NEWS/SPLASH NEWS
Family members and staff answer questions about James Gandolfini, who died of cardiac arrest at age 51, the morgue.
Gandolfini enjoyed one drink and a glass of red wine before sharing a plate of prosciutto and melon with his son Michael, he said. Each then ordered a pasta dish.
Gandolfini's grief-stricken sister arrived Friday in Rome to formally identify the body of the Emmy-winning actor.
CRAIG BLANKENHORN /AP
James Gandolfini, from left, Steven Van Zandt and Tony Sirico are seen during the final season of the hit HBO show 'The Sopranos' in 2007.
Leta Gandolfini was escorted to the Umberto Hospital morgue where the 51-year-old was taken after his shocking and sudden death Wednesday night.
Doctors fought desperately to revive the actor for 40 minutes before he was declared dead.
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