Four days after James Gandolfini died of a heart attack, the actor's body is on its way back to New York City from Rome.
A funeral has been scheduled Thursday for The Sopranos star in The Big Apple, as the entertainment industry continues to wrestle with the unexpected passing of this legend.
Said family spokesman Michael Kobold in a statement today:
“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.”
“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.
We would like to thank the United States government, especially Secretary Kerry and our friends at the State Department for helping us in this time of need. Our expressed thanks to the people at the Italy desk at the State Department for working day and night on our behalf.
"We thank President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for their kind support. And we would like to applaud Vice Consul Patricia Hill and her colleagues at the consular section at the U.S. Embassy here in Rome for being so courteous and helpful throughout this difficult process."
Gandolfini passed away of natural causes while on vacation with his teenage son this week. The 13-year old tragically discovered his father's body inside a hotel room and called the authorities, who were unable to revive him with life-saving measures.
Our thoughts continue to go out to the actor's family and loved ones.