Autopsy results confirm that Sopranos star James Gandolfini suffered a heart attack and died of natural causes on Wednesday, June 19, family friend Michael Kobold told reporters Friday. The 51-year-old's sudden death instantly shocked and saddened fans worldwide. As previously reported, Gandolfini had been visiting Rome with family ahead of a scheduled Saturday appearance at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily. "Today we received the results of the autopsy, which stated he died of a heart attack, of natural causes," Kobold said in Rome, Italy, on Friday. "The autopsy further states that nothing else was found in his system."
Plans are underway to transport the star's body to the U.S. soon, Kobold said, "Once we have the clearance, we will put him on a flight to America. We expect that to be Wednesday, maybe Thursday, but we will keep you informed." A funeral is expected in NYC late next week. "We hope that it will be on Thursday, Friday, latest Saturday. [It] is up to the Italian authorities to decide how quickly."
In a heartbreaking detail, the star's manager confirmed that Michael, Gandolfini's 13-year-old son, found his father collapsed in his hotel room and immediately alerted hotel staff about the medical emergency.
The three-time Emmy winner was then transported to the Policlinico Umberto I hospital; Dr. Claudio Modini told Reuters and other outlets that paramedics attempted in vain to revive Gandolfini en route to the hospital.
Hollywood has been grieving the actor ever since news break of his death late Wednesday. "James was such an enormous talent, and an even greater spirit. I will be forever grateful for the privilege of working with him, and shall cherish his memories always," said Kathryn Bigelow, who directed Gandolfini in Zero Dark Thirty.