Robert De Niro's Daughter Drena Slams "Vicious, Inaccurate" Reports About Son Leandro's Death

After Robert De Niro's grandson Leandro’s cause of death was revealed as an accidental overdose, his mother Drena expressed how there has been a "misrepresentation of facts.”

By Elyse Dupre Aug 10, 2023 2:33 PMTags
Watch: Robert De Niro's Grandson Leandro Dead at 19

Robert De Niro's daughter Drena De Niro is setting the record straight on her son Leandro De Niro Rodriguez's death.

Though she shared in July that her 19-year-old died after being sold fentanyl-laced pills, she now says there's been a misrepresentation as to what happened.

"Since the circumstances of my son's death have taken on a narrative and life of its own, driven by vicious, inaccurate hypotheses and conjecture by way of trolling and randoms who have nothing better to do than spread vitriol and pain to people who are already managing more than their share of heartache," she wrote on Instagram Aug. 9, "I will say what I can about this."

"Firstly Leo was not forewarned to anyone's knowledge (particularly Yours) that he would be taking fentanyl laced substance," she continued. "He was warned to 'not take too many' of the counterfeit pills he was being sold and to ‘be careful with these' but this is very different than warning that a substance is in fact lethal or better yet not selling it all."

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Earlier this month, the New York City chief medical examiner's office confirmed to People that Leandro died from the "toxic effects" of a combination of drugs. His death was ruled an accidental overdose—and, for Drena, that means no one is at fault.

"Many people feel it's necessary to place the blame on my son for using the drugs," she shared, "to me as his mother for being hurt, shocked and angry at the sudden loss of my child and even on his grandfather, whom many seem to think, possesses a direct connection or influence on how the U.S. borders are operated."

"Now I know there is no way to reason with stupidity or ignorance," the actress—who is one of Robert's seven children—added, "but I will say that as long as we keep blaming the addict and person suffering mental illness we are going to continue to see more of this."


Instead, Drena offered insight into what Leandro was going through before his death. 

"My son suffered tremendously through the pandemic as maybe many of your kids had," she shared, "but sadly addiction took over in the last year and eventually killed him." 

And she said dealing with public scrutiny has only made the loss more difficult.

"We are human beings in the end," the Oscar winner's daughter wrote. "Neither I, my family, nor my son asked to be public tabloid fodder for trolling that's just what we have to deal with on top of a paramount loss."

Now, she wants change.

"Rather than focusing on the menu of substances in his system when he died or an emotionally charged comment that was made one time I really would like the media outlets and its readers focus on how to really help halt this epidemic," she begged, later adding, "Mental health and addiction and fentanyl doesn't care about pointing fingers and calling names and blaming, it chooses and gets in the hands of too many people who distribute it."


And she knows she's not alone in her pain.

"My heart, prayers and alliance is with anyone who is suffering the loss of their child or loved one to this nightmare of addiction and fentanyl overdose or suicide," she noted. "Hopefully the publicity his very sad death has garnered will bring attention to a much bigger problem and to all the other beautiful young lives that are being snuffed out way too soon and senselessly.

As she concluded, "I also hope his passing will help bring more empathy, understanding and support to families and people who are struggling with mental health, suicide and addiction."

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