ROME (AP) — Organizers of the Taormina, Sicily, Film Festival are scrambling to put together a tribute to U.S. actor James Gandolfini, who had been expected to attend the festival's closing ceremony this weekend.
Organizers Mario Sesti and Tiziana Rocca said that instead of receiving an award from the resort city of Taormina on Saturday, Gandolfini will instead be honored with a tribute "remembering his career and talent."
Gandolfini died Wednesday in Rome, according to HBO and Gandolfini's managers Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders.
He was to have taught a master class Saturday morning and receive the "Taormina City Prize" before attending the festival's closing ceremony along with actress Marisa Tomei.
Sesti and Rocca said they had spoken to Gandolfini hours before his death "and he was very happy to receive this prize and be able to travel to Italy."