James Gandolfini funeral to be held on Thursday


The funeral of The Sopranos star James Gandolfini will be held in New York City on Thursday, a family friend has confirmed.

The service will begin at 10am at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, according to Michael Kobold.

“On behalf of the Gandolfini family, I would like to thank the Italian authorities for all of the assistance they have rendered in expediting the formalities necessary to repatriate James Gandolfini's remains to the United States,” he told CNN.

“We are fully aware that this process usually takes seven days and we are extremely grateful for their efficiency in dealing with this matter. We sincerely thank you.”

The late actor’s body arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport on a flight from Rome on Sunday night, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told the local Star-Ledger newspaper.                                                                                   

Gandolfini, 51, died of a heart attack on Wednesday during a working holiday in Italy. According to Kobold, an autopsy revealed no signs of substance abuse or foul play.

The actor is said to have had a “wonderful day” visiting the Vatican and dining with his son in the hours leading up to his tragic death. He was in Italy to receive an award at Sicily’s Taormina Film Fest.

Gandolfini was showered with awards for his portrayal of crime boss Tony Soprano, including three Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Following his death, friends and colleagues paid tribute to his incredible talent.

Sopranos creator David Chase said: “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.”

Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon, who starred alongside Gandolfini in 2005 film Romance and Cigarettes, said he was “One of the sweetest, funniest, most generous actors I've ever worked with,” adding: “Sending prayers to his family.”