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Gandolfini funeral set for Thursday in NY

By Faith Karimi, CNN
updated 10:14 PM EDT, Sun June 23, 2013
James Gandolfini, who gained fame playing a memorable mafia boss on HBO's "The Sopranos," died after suffering a heart attack in Italy on Wednesday, June 19. Pictured, Gandolfini at the premiere of "Zero Dark Thirty" in 2012. James Gandolfini, who gained fame playing a memorable mafia boss on HBO's "The Sopranos," died after suffering a heart attack in Italy on Wednesday, June 19. Pictured, Gandolfini at the premiere of "Zero Dark Thirty" in 2012.
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'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Funeral to be held Thursday in Manhattan, family friend says
  • He thanks Italian and U.S. authorities for expediting the process to have his body sent
  • Gandolfini died last week in Rome
  • The actor had been scheduled to receive an award at an Italian film festival

(CNN) -- The funeral service for "Sopranos" actor James Gandolfini will be held Thursday in Manhattan, a family friend told CNN on Sunday.

Gandolfini, who was on a working vacation in Rome, died Wednesday. An autopsy determined his death was the result of a heart attack, according to Michael Kobold, the family friend.

The actor's remains are scheduled to leave Rome on Monday and arrive in the United States the same evening, Kobold said. The service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Manhattan.

"On behalf of the Gandolfini family, I would like to thank the Italian authorities for all of the assistance they have rendered in expediting the formalities necessary to repatriate James Gandolfini's remains to the United States," Kobold said.

"We are fully aware that this process usually takes seven days and we are extremely grateful for their efficiency in dealing with this matter. We sincerely thank you."

When the news broke on Wednesday that "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini died at 51, tributes poured in around the world, including CNN iReport. "So long, paisan" was how Orlando, Florida, resident Pat Tantalo chose to say goodbye to the friend he met on the set of the 2006 film "Lonely Hearts." "When Jimmy arrived, he was bigger than life. He shook everyone's hands and made sure he learned everyone's name. We were just finishing a production meeting and we introduced ourselves. We instantly connected. He planted his huge mitts on my shoulders and called me a little bull." When the news broke on Wednesday that "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini died at 51, tributes poured in around the world, including CNN iReport. "So long, paisan" was how Orlando, Florida, resident Pat Tantalo chose to say goodbye to the friend he met on the set of the 2006 film "Lonely Hearts." "When Jimmy arrived, he was bigger than life. He shook everyone's hands and made sure he learned everyone's name. We were just finishing a production meeting and we introduced ourselves. We instantly connected. He planted his huge mitts on my shoulders and called me a little bull."
'So long, paisan:' Fans mourn Gandolfini
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\'So long, paisan:\' Fans mourn Gandolfini 'So long, paisan:' Fans mourn Gandolfini
Gupta: 51 is young for a heart attack
Remembering a 'Sopranos' icon
Gandolfini: From Broadway to 'Sopranos'

The 51-year-old actor arrived in Rome with his son, Michael Gandolfini, a day before he died.

"Jim was happy, he was healthy, he was doing really fine," Kobold said. "He was on vacation with his son. He has an 8-month-old daughter. Everything was going great. I just spoke to him on Father's Day."

The same day Gandolfini died, he had visited the Vatican and dined with his son, the family said.

After he returned to his room, his son alerted hotel staff that he was not answering knocks on the bathroom door.

Hotel staff broke down the door to get to him and called an ambulance, said Tiziana Rocca, head of a film festival the actor was planning to attend.

Gandolfini was in Italy to receive an award at the Taormina Film Fest in the Sicilian town of Taormina.

Instead of the award ceremony, the festival paid tribute to Gandolfini's lifetime achievements.

The actor shot to fame on the HBO drama "The Sopranos." In the widely successful series, he played Tony Soprano, a tough New Jersey crime boss. He also appeared in various movies, including "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Killing Them Softly."

CNN's Jessica King and KJ Matthews contributed to this report

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