Gandolfini’s Remains to Leave Rome Monday

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James Gandolfini 6/19/13 Courtesy: HBO

(CNN) — The remains of “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini are scheduled to leave Rome on Monday and arrive in the United States the same evening, a family friend said.

Gandolfini, who was on a working vacation in Rome, died Wednesday.

An autopsy determined his death was the result of a heart attack, according to Michael Kobold, the family friend.

“On behalf of the Gandolfini family, I would like to thank the Italian authorities for all of the assistance they have rendered in expediting the formalities necessary to repatriate James Gandolfini’s remains to the United States,” he said.

“We are fully aware that this process usually takes seven days and we are extremely grateful for their efficiency in dealing with this matter. We sincerely thank you.”

The 51-year-old actor arrived in Rome with his son, Michael Gandolfini, a day before he died.

“Jim was happy, he was healthy, he was doing really fine,” Kobold said. “He was on vacation with his son. He has an 8-month-old daughter. Everything was going great. I just spoke to him on Father’s Day.”

The same day Gandolfini died, he had visited the Vatican and dined with his son, the family said.

After he returned to his room, his son alerted hotel staff that he was not answering knocks on the bathroom door.

Hotel staff broke down the door to get to him and called an ambulance, said Tiziana Rocca, head of a film festival the actor was planning to attend.

Gandolfini was in Italy to receive an award at the Taormina Film Fest in the Sicilian town of Taormina.

Instead of the award ceremony, the festival paid tribute to Gandolfini’s lifetime achievements.

The actor shot to fame on the HBO drama “The Sopranos.” In the widely successful series, he played Tony Soprano, a tough New Jersey crime boss. He also appeared in various movies, including “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Killing Them Softly.”

The funeral service will be held 10 a.m. Thursday at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, a family representative told CNN on Sunday.

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By Faith Karimi

CNN’s Jessica King contributed to this report