Up to 10 days' delay until body is sent to U.S.
The late actor’s funeral will be held in New York no earlier than Thursday June 27, as soon as Italian paperwork is cleared, his friend Michael Kobold said in a brief Rome press conference on Friday.
“He died of a heart attack, of natural causes,” Kobold told reporters, reading from a statement.
“The autopsy further states that nothing else was found in his system,” he added.
Asked if Gandolfini had a known pre-existing heart condition, Kobold replied, “No, he was healthy.”
Kobold said Gandolfini’s body has been turned over to a funeral director.
“In Italy it can take up to 10 days to file all the necessary documents and paperwork to repatriate the body,” Kobold noted.
“We are looking forward to working with the Italian government officials to shorten that process,” he added.
Kobold specified that he hoped to put Gandolfini’s body on an airplane Wednesday or Thursday of next week.
A van with Gandolfini’s relatives reportedly arrived Friday at the Umberto I hospital morgue.
Gandolfini had been travelling in Italy with his 13-year-old son Michael and was waiting for his sister Johanna Antonacci to arrive at Rome’s Hotel Boscolo Exedra when he passed away.
“He had a wonderful day. He visited the Vatican, he had dinner at the hotel with his son,”Kobold said.
At the press conference, the hotel manager Francesca Caracciolo denied reports that Gandolfini had downed lots of cocktails and eaten heavily at the hotel shortly before his death.
“I can tell you categorically that those reports are not true,” she said.
“This was apparently a mix up; whoever leaked this information to the press must have gotten something mixed up,” Kobald confirmed.
“Some of the food listed in the press are things I ate with the family yesterday,” he went on to specify.
“The Pina Coladas were virgin Pina Coladas for Michael, Jim son.”