James Gandolfini had his remains flown back to America at the tail end of last week, with a private jet flying the late actor into Newark airport late on Sunday (June 23) night. He will be buried and a memorial service will be held in his name later this week, with the actor being laid to rest on Thursday (June 27) during a traditional Catholic ceremony.
The ceremony is due to take place at Manhattan's Church of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights, with further memorial services set to take place in the coming weeks. On Sunday, at around 5:40 p.m local time in Rome, The lates actor's body left Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport for Newark, a large black coffin containing the stocky actor being loaded onto a private jet around an hour earlier. It is believed that Secretary of State John Kerry, ex-President Bill Clinton and former-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all worked behind the scenes to ensure Gandolfini had a speedy return back to the USA.
The Sopranos star died following a heart attack in Rome last Wednesday (June 19) while on vacation with his teenage son. There was no indication that the actor's time might soon in the lead-up to his death either, with the actor suffering from no known ailments or health issues at the time. A family spokesperson for the Gandolfini's, Michael Kobold, said, “He was extremely happy. He was healthy. There was nothing wrong with him, so this came as a surprise and a total shock.”
Since his death, tributes for the late actor have come flooding in from both within the entertainment world and much further afield. His Sopranos cast-mates and crew each gave their respects to the actor, with Hollywood icons Robin Williams and Bryan Cranston among those paying their respects, and even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sending his respects to the actor, as well as ordering that all flags across the state be lowered to half-mass in memory of the New Jersey-native actor.
Gandolfini is survived by his wife and two chldren
He is being remembered as one of the finest TV actors of all time