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James Gandolfini autopsy results confirm heart attack, funeral plans revealed

USMagazine, Friday, June 21, 2013, 9:15am (PDT)
  • Autopsy results confirm that "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini suffered a heart attack and died of natural causes on Wednesday, family friend Michael Kobold told reporters on 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 on Friday. "The autopsy further states that nothing else was found in his system."

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    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.

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    "The resuscitation maneuvers, including heart massage, continued for 40 minutes and then, seeing no electric activity from the heart, this was interrupted and we declared James dead," Dr. Modini said.

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    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.

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