James Gandolfini's Friends and Family Gather to Remember Late Star, Broadway Dims Their Lights

Actor's loved ones attended a private viewing at the Robert Spearing Funeral Home in New Jersey

By Bruna Nessif Jun 27, 2013 12:48 AMTags
James GandolfiniPascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Friends and family gathered today to say goodbye to James Gandolfini.

A private, invitation-only viewing was held this afternoon for the late Sopranos actor in his hometown of Park Ridge, N.J., at the Robert Spearing Funeral Home.

"Of course it's difficult. This man was like everybody's hero and it was just the worst thing in the world that could possibly have happened," Gandolfini's relative Bob Price told CBS.

Gandolfini's sisters Leta Gandolfini and Johanna Antonacci were present, along with the star's 8-month-old daughter, Liliana Ruth Gandolfini, who arrived flanked by guards and a blanket.

The actor's body returned to the U.S. Sunday night after being flown in from Rome.

"On behalf of the Gandolfini family, I would like to thank the Italian authorities for all the assistance they have rendered in expediting the formalities necessary to repatriate James Gandolfini's remains to the United States," spokesman Michael Kobold said.

"It has been our privilege to be guests in your beautiful country, despite the difficult circumstances. We sincerely thank you."

Splash News

In addition, Broadway theaters will dim their lights this week to pay tribute to the fallen star, with theater marquees going dark for one minute tonight to honor the actor.

"James Gandolfini was a consummate actor who brought individuality to each role and inspired a true connection with the audience. Whether on screen or on a Broadway stage, he made every role believable and seemingly effortless," Executive Director of The Broadway League Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement.

"Our thoughts go out to his family and friends, and certainly to all of his fans who felt as if they knew his characters."

Splash News

The 51-year-old actor suffered a heart attack in his room at Hotel Boscolo in Rome, Italy, last Wednesday. Gandolfini's teenage son was with his father in the room and called for help. Hotel staff subsequently rushed to the room and found the Emmy winner collapsed on the bathroom floor.

Workers attempted to resuscitate him, but he was later pronounced dead at the Policlinico Umberto I hospital.

The news of Gandolfini's death struck Hollywood with shock, and numerous celebs and colleagues gave their condolences and blessings to the late actor and his family.

A funeral service will be held on Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in upper Manhattan.