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Doctors struggled to save Gandolfini

2013-06-21 07:45
james gandolfini
Rome - Doctors in Italy battled for 40 minutes to save the life of James Gandolfini, the burly actor best known for his Emmy-winning role as a mob boss in the TV series The Sopranos, before pronouncing him dead on Wednesday at age 51.

Gandolfini, whose performance as Tony Soprano made him a household name and ushered in a new era of American television drama, was vacationing in Rome and had been scheduled to attend the closing of the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily on Saturday.

He was taken from his Rome hotel to the city's Umberto I hospital late on Wednesday, according to a hospital spokesperson.

"The resuscitation maneuvers, including heart massage etc, continued for 40 minutes and then, seeing no electric activity from the heart, this was interrupted and we declared James dead," Claudio Modini, the emergency room chief, told Reuters.

Dead on arrival

"The patient was considered dead on arrival, and for that reason an autopsy has been requested to be carried out by a pathologist, as is normal procedure in our country."

The autopsy has been scheduled for Friday morning. Michael Kobold, a friend of the family, told reporters the actor was found by a relative at his hotel in central Rome after suffering an apparent heart attack.

Work and family

Since The Sopranos ended its six-season run in June 2007, Gandolfini appeared in a number of big-screen roles, including Zero Dark Thirty, a film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and the crime drama Killing Them Softly.

At the time of his death, he had been working on an upcoming HBO series, Criminal Justice, and had two motion pictures due out next year.

Gandolfini had a son, Michael, with his first wife, Marcy Wudarski, whom he divorced in 2002. In 2008 he married model Deborah Lin, who gave birth to a daughter, Liliana, in 2012.

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