Thursday, June 20, 2013

James Gandolfini's son witnessed father in cardiac arrest, called for help

More details are emerging in the death of James Gandolfini, who portrayed perhaps the greatest gangster in TV history, Tony Soprano (although Steve Buscemi and "Boardwalk Empire" might have something to say about that). Gandolfini was 51, and died Wednesday of what is believed to have been a heart attack.

James Gandolfini was ostensibly in Italy to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily. He was scheduled to participate in a festival event this weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.

However, there's far more to it than just that. Gandolfini was on a father-son trip with his son Michael, 13. Michael in fact, witnessed his father in cardiac arrest, and it was he who called for help.

Authorities stated that Gandolfini, 51, was in his room at Hotel Exedra when he felt ill at around 10 p.m. local time. His son called the reception desk for help, according to Laura Conti, marketing director of the Exedra hotel chain.

Conti added that once hotel staff, realizing Gandolfini's distress, called for an ambulance immediately once they arrived on-scene at the room. Conti said the actor was alive when the ambulance left the hotel.

Gandolfini arrived at the Policlinico Umberto I hospital in central Rome at around 10:40 p.m. local time, in cardiac arrest. The paramedics in the ambulance had already begun resuscitation procedures, which were continued by ER staff at the hospital. After 40 minutes of continued attempts to revive him, Gandolfini was declared dead.

Michael and Gandolfini were on a vacation together; Michael had recently graduated from the eighth grade. Michael's mother, Gandolfini's ex-wife Marcy Wudarski, flew to Italy immediately on Wednesday after she was told of Gandolfini's death.

The Taormina Film Festival plans to memorialize James Gandolfini, it was said.

Gandolfini is survived by wife Deborah Lin, baby daughter Liliana, who was born last October, and Michael, his son with Wudarski.

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