Gandolfini Mourned at Italian Festival as New Details Emerge

Autopsy to be performed on Saturday

ROME — The Taormina Film Festival in Sicily on Thursday mourned James Gandolfini and prepared to pay tribute to the late actor whose body lies in the morgue of Rome’s Policlinico Umberto I hospital.

SEE ALSO: James Gandolfini Dies at 51

Doctor Claudio Modini, head of the hospital’s emergency room said the cause of death was “probably” a heart attack, adding that he could not be sure until after the autopsy.

Modini at a press conference said Gandolfini arrived at the emergency room at 10:40 p.m. Wednesday night and was pronounced dead 20 minutes later, after failed attempts to resuscitate him in the ambulance and at the hospital.

According to Italian news agencies, Gandolfini was travelling in Italy with his 13-year-old son Micheal, ahead of his scheduled June 22 on-stage conversation in Taormina. He suffered from a heart attack in the bathroom of Rome’s Hotel Exedra. His son reportedly alerted hotel staff.

SEE ALSO: James Gandolfini’s Unlikely Stardom

Gandolfini was still alive when the ambulance arrived at the hotel, according to AGI.

The coroner at Rome’s Policlinico Umberto I, Antonio Spasola, said the autopsy will be performed on Saturday.

Once the U.S. Embassy in Rome issues a death certificate, Gandolfini’s body can be returned to the United States.

James Gandolfini was an Italian-American, and has represented an excellent example of the deep cultural contribution made by Italians to American society,” the embassy said in a statement posted in Italian on its website.

Taormina artistic director Mario Sesti and general manager Tiziana Rocca on Thursday issued a joint statement saying they had spoken to Gandolfini just hours before he died, and that he had told them he was very happy to be in Italy.

“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, humor. He was the face of the golden age of television, but also a memorable film actor,” they commented.

Gandolfini was scheduled to receive the City of Taormina award on Saturday and also hold a conversation on the stage of the town’s Greek Theater with Sesti, Marisa Tomei, and Italian director Gabriele Muccino. Instead, he will be fondly remembered on that stage by Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Samuel-W.-Gelfman

    Samuel Gelfman, Roger Corman Film Producer, Dies at 88

    Samuel Gelfman, a New York producer known for his work on Roger Corman’s “Caged Heat,” “Cockfighter” and “Cannonball!,” died Thursday morning at UCLA Hospital in Westwood following complications from heart and respiratory disease, his son Peter Gelfman confirmed. He was 88. Gelfman was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in Caldwell New Jersey [...]

  • Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Pulls Ahead of 'Hobbs & Shaw' Overseas

    Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might not have hit No. 1 in North America, but Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is leading the way at the international box office, where it collected $53.7 million from 46 markets. That marks the best foreign opening of Tarantino’s career, coming in ahead of 2012’s “Django Unchained.” “Once [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content