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James Gandolfini died from heart attack

James Gandolfini

Story by Jack Foley

JAMES Gandolfini died following a heart attack, an autopsy in Rome has confirmed.

The official cause of death was revealed at a news conference given by family friend Michael Kobold who confirmed that “nothing was found in his system”.

Mr Kobold added that the actor’s body had been released to a funeral director and plans were now being made to repatriate him to the US, hopefully by next Thursday so that a funeral could be held in New York by next Saturday.

Gandolfini had been on holiday in Italy, where he had been due to receive an award at the Taormina Film Festival.

Doctors and paramedics had spent 40 minutes trying to save his life after he was found in the bathroom of his Rome hotel room and taken to the Policlinico Umberto I hospital. But attempts to resuscitate Gandolfini in the ambulance and hospital both failed and he was considered dead on arrival.

In a statement released by Gandolfini’s family, Mr Kobold went on to say: “James came here on vacation meeting his family. He had a wonderful day – he visited the Vatican, he had dinner at the hotel with his son, awaiting the arrival of his sister.

“We are all devastated by this loss. James was a devoted husband, a loving father of two children and a brother and cousin you could always count on.”

The organisers of the Taormina Film Festival, Mario Sesti and Tiziana Rocca, also issued a statement saying they were “deeply saddened” by Gandolfini’s death.

“We had heard from James Gandolfini a few hours before and he was very happy to receive this award and to be able to travel to Italy,” they said. “He was the American actor that better than anyone else has been able to interpret the Italian-American with his personality full of contrasts, ambition, pain, humour. He was the face of the golden age of television, but also a memorable film actor.”

They added they would be organising a tribute to his “career and talent”.

At the time of his death, Gandolfini had been working on upcoming HBO series Criminal Justice and had completed two films, which are due for release next year – the comedy Enough Said and crime drama Animal Rescue.

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