The hotel room where James Gandolfini suffered a heart attack Wednesday night was briefly occupied by Food Network star Sandra Lee.
Lee, the girlfriend of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is on European vacation with her sister and nieces. The celebrity chef had no idea about what happened in Room 449 when she checked in to the Boscolo Exedra Roma hotel two days after Gandolfini was fatally stricken. Lee checked out of the $671 per night room the next day because she was getting hounded by media as a result of Gandolfini’s untimely passing.
A spokesman for Sandra Lee said that the situation in the luxury hotel became intolerable according to US Magazine: “Sandra Lee has moved out of the hotel room previously occupied by James Gandolfini. The European paparazzi has been overwhelming…with non-stop phone calls to the room…reporters are pulling all sorts of trickery — trying to bribe hotel staff to get into the suite. Sandra is disappointed in the hotel staff and drivers for leaking information about her family vacation and whereabouts as well as the hotel’s non-disclosure that her room was the location of the sad event that took place around Mr. Gandolfini’s final evening. There are few words to accurately describe the loss his family is feeling, but Ms. Lee conveys her deepest sympathy to his loved ones.”
Gandolfini, 51, the star of HBO’s The Sopranos, was also on vacation in Rome and was scheduled to attend the closing ceremonies at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily on Saturday. His 13 year-old son found Gandolfini unconscious on the bathroom floor of his luxury suite. Hotel staffers immediately called for an ambulance, and doctors at the Umberto I hospital tried for 40 minutes in vain to resuscitate the beloved actor.
Hotels typical take rooms out of service temporarily or even permanently when an event of this magnitude occurs, but this apparently was not the case at the Rome venue.
[Image credit: David Shankbone]