| 16.2°C Dublin

Gandolfini was found dead by teen son in hotel room

Close

James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini

SOPRANOS actor James Gandolfini was reportedly found dead by his teenage son in his hotel room in Rome.

The star of the hit gangster show was holidaying with his son Michael and his sister in the Italian city when he suffered an apparent heart attack.

The family had just returned to their luxury hotel, Boscolo Exedra, after a day of sightseeing when Mr Gandolfini collapsed.

It is reported that the actor went to the bathroom, but failed to return.

Reports from Italy said that a family member – believed to be either his son or his sister Johanna Antonacci – went to investigate and found him unconscious on the floor and raised the alarm.

Emergency workers desperately tried to resuscitate Mr Gandolfini (51) but he was pronounced dead on arrival at the local hospital. Fellow actor and friend Gilles Marini said Gandolfini had been looking forward to the European break for some time.

"Last Saturday, he told me at our kids' graduation that he was so happy to go with his son to Italy. A boy trip," he said. "It was an honour to have met this man, such a great dad.

"I spent so much time with James's son teaching him soccer. I feel for that kid... it must be so hard right now for little Michael."

TRIBUTE

New Jersey-born actor Gandolfini, who also has an eight-month-old daughter Liliana with second wife Deborah Lin, was scheduled to appear at Italy's Taormina Film Festival this weekend.

He was due to receive an award for his portrayal of the iconic Italian-American character in the Sopranos and was to give a special class tomorrow morning at the festival. Organisers Mario Sesti and Tiziana Rocca said, instead, they would organise a tribute to "celebrate his great achievement and talent".

Close family friend Michael Kobold is acting as spokesman for the family and said that everyone was stunned at his sudden passing.

"My friend Jim was a giant in many ways," Mr Kobold said.

"His heart was huge and made of gold, and he needed that great body of his to carry it around. No words can express my sadness and that of my family."

David Chase, creator of the Sopranos, said the news was "crushing". "He was a genius. Anyone who saw him, even in the smallest of his performances, knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time," he said.

SEE PAGE 17


Privacy