James Gandolfini body en route to States

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

Updated at 4:35 p.m. The Associated Press reports James Gandolfini's body is now on its way back to the United States:

       ROME (AP) — The Italian news agency ANSA says the body of actor James Gandolfini has departed Rome and is en route to the United States.

ANSA did not cite any sources, but published a photo showing airport workers loading a coffin identified as that of the “Sopranos” star on to a plane.

The agency says the private plane took off at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) Sunday. Its exact U.S. destination was unclear.

Family spokesman Michael Kobold earlier told reporters the “provisional plan” was to repatriate Gandolfini’s body Monday.

Gandolfini, 51, died Wednesday in Rome. Kobold has said an autopsy revealed the cause was a heart attack. Authorities have not released the report.

The actor had been headed to Sicily to appear at the Taormina Film Festival, which paid tribute to him Saturday.     

An earlier story: 
James Gandolfini’s body is expected to leave Rome on Monday, family spokesman Michael Kobold told reporters today. 
Stories from the Associated Press and Variety say the family enlisted help from the Clintons in speeding the process, which normally can take seven to 10 days. 
Kobold, a Carnegie Mellon University grad who became personal friends with Gandolfini through his luxury watch business, thanked Italian and U.S. authorities, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, his predecessor Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton for helping with arrangements.
Kobold also singled out HBO and United Airlines for aid during this difficult time. 
No specifics were announced about the funeral of “The Sopranos” star who died Wednesday of a heart attack while en route to Sicily for the Taormina Film Festival. 
gandolfiniblogpicHe was 51 and left behind a wife, an infant daughter, a teenage son and millions of TV watchers and moviegoers who felt a kinship with the actor who was so masterful at playing the mob boss — and countless other roles. 
Above photo: Taormina Film Festival Director Mario Sesti, right, flanked by actress Tiziana Rocca. Gandolfini had been on his way to the festival when he died. AP Photo by Carmelo Imbesi.

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