Belfast Telegraph

James Gandolfini private viewing held

Friends and family of James Gandolfini have gathered in New Jersey to mark his passing.

The Sopranos actor died while on a trip to Rome, Italy, last week. He was 51 and it’s been confirmed he suffered a heart attack and died of natural causes.

A private viewing has been held in the star’s hometown of Park Ridge, with those close to the star invited to mark his passing at the Robert Spearing Funeral Home.

The star’s wife Deborah Lin and their eight-month-old daughter Liliana were among the first mourners seen arriving, after flying in from California.

"It's a nightmare for the whole family. It's a horrible, horrible thing, everybody is just devastated,” Bob Price, whose wife is a cousin of the late star, told New York Daily News.

“This man was everybody's hero. It's just the worst thing that could have happened.”

James’ first wife Marcy Wudarski was also in attendance. The former couple’s 13-year-old son Michael was with the actor in Italy and summoned help after finding his father collapsed in the bathroom of their hotel.

Some flowers were seen arriving at the funeral home, with some residents of the town standing outside as a mark of respect for the star. The actor’s family is said to have asked for people to make donations to a charity supporting injured members of the armed forces rather than send blooms.

A representative from TV networking HBO said some of James’ The Sopranos co-stars were planning on paying tribute to him by attending the wake.

After the viewing, the star’s body was to be transported to Manhattan ahead of his funeral at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine tomorrow.

Theatres on Broadway dimmed their lights as a tribute to James on Wednesday.

Footage from his final movie Animal Rescue was played in Barcelona this week, with the audience applauding the film.

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