New details have emerged in the tragic death of Sopranos star James Gandolfini: According to TMZ, Gandolfini was in Rome, Italy, with his teenage son, Michael, for a "guy's trip," when he suffered a heart attack at about 10 PM Wednesday, local time.
Michael, who was with Gandolfini in the room, reportedly discovered his father having a heart attack in the bathroom of his hotel room, and he immediately called for help. Hotel staff then rushed to the room and found the actor on the bathroom floor, then immediately called an ambulance. Attempts to resuscitate began in the ambulance, and Gandolfini was reportedly in cardiac arrest upon arrival—it continued for 40 minutes, before he was pronounced dead at approximately 11 PM local time (5 PM EST).
Gandolfini was scheduled to appear at the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily this weekend, after he spent the week in Rome with his son.
Back in 1988, long before The Sopranos and only a year after his first ever film role as an orderly in the 1987 science fiction horror comedy Shock! Shock! Shock!, a young Gandolfini appeared in a 1988 New York Times article about how young "apartment gypsies"—that is, people who never sign an official lease, but instead opt to sublet frequently—survive in NYC. He's referred to as "Jim," and described as someone whose "calling is the theater but whose living comes mostly from bartending and construction":
Then there is Jim Gandolfini, who seems to thrive on the apartment-hopping life. Since moving to New York City four years ago, Mr. Gandolfini, 26 years old, has never had his name on a lease, never paid more than $400 a month in rent and never lived in one place more than 10 months. His wanderer's existence has given him sojourns, some as brief as two months, in Hoboken, N.J.; Astoria, Queens; Clinton and the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and Park Slope and Flatbush in Brooklyn.
''MOVING, to me, is no big deal,'' said Mr. Gandolfini, whose calling is the theater but whose living comes mostly from bartending and construction. ''I have a system down. I throw everything in plastic garbage bags and can be situated in my new place in minutes. Without my name on a lease, I'm in and out. I have no responsibilities.''