James Gandolfini: Heart Attack Likely, Son Called For Help

The passing of acting great James Gandolfini yesterday in Rome came as a shock to family, friends and fans, and the star’s sudden death is believed to have been due to a heart attack — one to which his 13-year-old son was witness.

James Gandolfini was on vacation in Italy at the time of his death, and an autopsy is expected to reveal cardiac arrest as the cause of his unexpected demise at 51.

CNN says that laws in Italy mandate an autopsy 24 hours after a person dies, but hospital officials in Rome believe that heart attack is likely what killed Gandolfini Thursday night.

The site reports:

“Professor Claudio Modini, head of the emergency department where the actor was taken, said he could not be certain of the cause of death until after the autopsy — but it was ‘probably a natural cause of death, myocardial infarction,’ or heart attack.”

ABC reports that Gandolfini was with son Michael when he was stricken, and the teen called reception for help.

Modini says that by the time the actor arrived at the hospital, “there was nothing to do.”

According to the network, James Gandolfini was alive when help arrived to his room at Rome’s Hotel Exedra, but was in cardiac arrest when he arrived at the hospital:

When hotel staffers arrived in Gandolfini’s room, they immediately called for an ambulance, she said. Conti said the actor was alive when the ambulance left for Policlinico Umberto I hospital in central Rome … Gandolfini arrived at the hospital at around 10:40 p.m. in cardiac arrest, Prof. Claudio Modini, director of the Emergency Department of the Policlinico, told ABC News.”

james gandolfini

The report continues:

“The paramedics in the ambulance had already started the resuscitation procedures. Those efforts continued after arrival at the hospital for 40 minutes, after which Gandolfini was declared dead, Modini said.”

Gandolfini is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, daughter Liliana, 8 months, and his son Michael.