How did James Gandolfini die? Exploring cause of death of The Sopranos star amid Steven Van Zandt's emotional comments

The world mourns the 10th death anniversary of James Gandolfini, remembered by his close friend Steven Van Zandt, who reflects on their deep connection forged on the set of The Sopranos.

Updated on Nov 20, 2023   |  06:34 PM IST  |  51.6K
James Gandolfini (IMDb)

Trigger Warning: This article contains references to alcohol and drug addiction

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Ten years ago, the world was shocked by the sudden death of James Gandolfini, renowned for his role as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos. On June 19, 2013, the news broke, revealing that the Emmy-winning actor passed away at the age of 51 while vacationing in Rome with his son Michael, who was celebrating his 8th-grade graduation.

What was James Gandolfini's cause of death?

Initially reported as an "apparent heart attack," speculation arose due to Gandolfini's reported past struggles with substances. After two days, his family spokesperson, Michael Kobold, confirmed the cause of death as a heart attack, emphasizing that it was of natural causes with no substances found in his system. Describing James' final hours, it was mentioned that he had a wonderful day, visiting the Vatican and sharing a family dinner at the Boscolo Exedra Hotel in Rome.

James' son, Michael, discovered him in the bathroom of their hotel room. Despite efforts to resuscitate him at Umberto I hospital, he was considered dead on arrival. This tragedy occurred almost six years after the conclusion of The Sopranos.

James Gandolfini, Steven Van Zandt, and Tony Sirico in The Sopranos (1999)

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Steven Van Zandt's recent comment on James Gandolfini's death

In a recent interview with CBS, Steven Van Zandt, known as Little Steven, discussed his friendship with James Gandolfini. Van Zandt, also part of The Sopranos cast, emphasized the profound impact Gandolfini had on him. Wertheim, the interviewer, joined Van Zandt in Rome, where he played at the Circus Maximus. Reflecting on the experience, Van Zandt acknowledged the deep connection he feels with Italy, given his 100% Italian heritage.

The interview covered various aspects of Van Zandt's career, including his projects beyond the E Street Band, his early years as a teenage musician in New Jersey, his philosophy on music, and his acting debut in The Sopranos as Silvio Dante. Van Zandt admitted feeling worried about his lack of acting experience during the show's first season. However, Zandt revealed, "Jimmy just set that tone right away," and he added, "Just utmost respect."

Van Zandt recalled that the show's creator, David Chase, hadn't initially scripted the scenes that would deepen the bond between Silvio Dante and Tony Soprano. He suggested that the genuine friendship between him and Gandolfini on set might have influenced the eventual plot development.

Steven told Wertheim, "I don't know whether it was me bonding with Jimmy… but slowly I become the underboss and consigliere." He continued "And at that point, I know what I'm doin', okay? Because I had been doin' this my whole life with Bruce, right?"

Expressing his profound loss over ten years after Gandolfini's death, Van Zandt expressed, "I miss him every day." 

The enduring impact of Gandolfini's legacy continues to resonate with those who knew and admired him, both personally and through his iconic portrayal of Tony Soprano.

Disclaimer: If you know someone who is struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, please reach out to the authorities and report it. There are several helplines available for the same.

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How old was James Gandolfini when he died Sopranos?
James was 51 when he died.

Who was supposed to play Tony Soprano?
Steven Van Zandt was supposed to play Tony Soprano.

Who did James Gandolfini leave his money to?
James inherited money was divided between his two sisters and daughter.

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