Entertainment News

  • 25 June 2013, 5:19

James Gandolfini: Actor's Body Flown Home Early

Funeral services for Sopranos actor James Gandolfini will be held on Thursday in New York.

An HBO spokeswoman speaking on behalf of the family said he funeral would take place at 10am local time at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.

Fifty-one-year-old Gandolfini died last Wednesday while he was on holiday in Rome.

A Signature Airlines flight carrying his body arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport from Rome on Sunday night, several days earlier than anticipated.

The body was taken from the airport at around 11.20pm, but the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey did not say where.

Family spokesman Michael Kobold thanked Italian and US authorities - including US Secretary of State John Kerry - his predecessor Hilary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton - for helping with the repatriation arrangements.

He said: "We are fully aware that this process normally takes seven days and we are extremely grateful for their (the authorities') efficiency in dealing with this matter."

New Jersey-born Gandolfini died after collapsing in the bathroom of his Rome hotel. He was found by his 13-year-old son Michael, who called for help. Doctors battled for 40 minutes to try to save his life.

A post-mortem revealed the cause of death was a heart attack.

The Zero Dark Thirty actor had been en route to Sicily for an appearance at the Taormina Film Festival, which paid tribute to him on Saturday.

Gandolfini became a household name thanks to his portrayal of mob boss Tony Soprano in the hit TV show.

He had been working on a new HBO series, Criminal Justice, and has two films due out in 2014.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has ordered flags to be flown at half mast today in memory of the actor.