James Gandolfini Death: Body to Return to U.S. on Monday; Thursday Funeral Planned in NYC

The remains of James Gandolfini may arrive in United States Monday evening from Rome, Italy ahead of a funeral service in New York later this week.

"We are now looking at hopefully getting James Gandolfini's remains back to the States tomorrow," Gandolfini family spokesman Michael Kobold said in a statement Sunday morning, according to ABC News. "The provisional plan is to depart Rome tomorrow afternoon and arrive in the U.S. in the evening."

Kobold said an autopsy revealed the cause of Gandolfini's death was a heart attack. The report has not been released by authorities.

Gandolfini died at the age of 51 on Wednesday, June 19, in Rome. He was in Italy to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily and was also scheduled to take part in a festival event this weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino. The film festival paid tribute to Gandolfini Saturday, June 22.

Kebold said Gandolfini's death came as a surprise as it was believed the actor was in good health.

"Jim was a really happy guy, especially because he'd just had a baby daughter eight months ago," 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," Kebold said.

The body of the late Sopranos star was not expected to be released until Wednesday, one week after he died in Rome. It typically takes one week or longer for a body to return when an American dies in Europe, according to TMZ

Funeral services for the 51-year-old Sopranos star are planned to take place on Thursday at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan, New York Daily News reported.

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