Yesterday, actor James Gandolfini died at a hotel in Rome, Italy. It's believed he had a heart attack, although Italian law doesn't permit an autopsy until 24 hours after the death. A spokesman for Hotel Exedra, where he was staying, said that Gandolfini's 13-year-old son Michael saw his father in cardiac arrest and called for help.
According to ABC News, "When hotel staffers arrived in Gandolfini's room, they immediately called for an ambulance, [hotel marketing director Laura Conti] said. Conti said the actor was alive when the ambulance left for Policlinico Umberto I hospital in central Rome. Gandolfini arrived at the hospital at around 10:40 p.m. in cardiac arrest, Prof. Claudio Modini, director of the Emergency Department of the Policlinico, told ABC News. The paramedics in the ambulance had already started the resuscitation procedures. Those efforts continued after arrival at the hospital for 40 minutes, after which Gandolfini was declared dead, Modini said."
His assistant Tom Richardson said, "We all had a marvelous day together, and when he returned to the hotel Jimmy [Gandolfini] went to the bathroom and that is where something happened. His sister said he was still alive when the ambulance took him away."
The U.S. Embassy will help transport Gandolfini's body back to the U.S. (it may four to seven days after the autopsy for that). Gandolfini had been in Italy to attend the Taormina Film Festival, where he was going to accept receive an award and appear at a roundtable event. The festival's artistic director Mario Sesti said, "He was so happy to be in Italy, to reconnect with his Italian roots, and he was very excited to come here and receive this award." Gandolfini's parents were born in Italy; he was born in Westwood, NJ.
Steven Schrripa, who played Bobby Baccalieri on The Sopranos, found out about Gandolfini's death while at a Yankees game. He told the Daily News that he and other castmates, like Lorraine Bracco and Steven Van Zandt, were trying to get more information, "I had to get up and leave. It was like being told a brother had died. Jimmy Gandolfini was as great a friend as he was an actor and a human being... The phone hasn’t stopped. I spoke to a lot of the guys from ‘The Sopranos.’ We were crying. People joke about us being a family. But we are a family." Bracco said, "We lost a giant today. I am utterly heartbroken."
And Edie Falco, who played Gandolfini's wife on The Sopranos, said, "I am shocked and devastated by Jim's passing. He was a man of tremendous depth and sensitivity, with a kindness and generosity beyond words. I consider myself very lucky to have spent 10 years as his close colleague. My heart goes out to his family. As those of us in his pretend [family] hold on to the memories of our intense and beautiful time together. The love between Tony and Carmela was one of the greatest I've ever known."