Actor’s Funeral Set For Thursday In NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Flags in New Jersey are being flown at half-staff Monday in memory of “Sopranos” star and New Jersey native James Gandolfini.

Gandolfini died Wednesday in Rome at age 51. Family spokesman Michael Kobold has said an autopsy revealed the cause was a heart attack, though authorities have not released the report.

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A Port Authority spokesman said Gandolfini’s body arrived at Newark Airport from Rome Sunday night in a Signature Airlines jet. It was taken away from the airport just before 11:30 p.m.

On Sunday, Kobold thanked officials for speeding the process of returning Gandolfini’s body.

“On behalf of the Gandolfini family, I would like to thank the Italian authorities for all the assistance they have rendered in expediting the formalities necessary to repatriate James Gandolfini’s remains to the United States,” he said in a statement. “We are fully aware that this process usually takes 7 days and we are extremely grateful for their efficiency in dealing with this matter. It has been our privilege to be guests in your beautiful country, despite the difficult circumstances. We sincerely thank you.”

The actor was vacationing in Italy and was set to appear at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily, which paid tribute to him Saturday.

News of the actor’s untimely death led to an outpouring of condolences from fellow actors and fans alike. Memorials and tributes to Gandolfini sprung up across New Jersey spots made famous by the iconic HBO show and in Manhattan’s Little Italy.

The flag directive was issued Friday by Gov. Chris Christie. It says Gandolfini was an iconic actor who “left a timeless impact upon television and film in the state of New Jersey and across our nation.”

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Gandolfini was born in Westwood. He grew up in Park Ridge and attended Rutgers. Christie has called the actor, acclaimed for his role as mobster Tony Soprano, a “New Jersey treasure.”

On Monday New Jersey residents looked past James Gandolfini the actor, and remembered James Gandolfini the person.

“He was a real nice, gentle person, very friendly with everybody,” Park Ridge resident Ernest Steinsdorfer told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang.

A HBO spokeswoman speaking on behalf of Gandolfini’s family said his funeral will be held will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City.

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