ROME (AP) - A friend of James Gandolfini says the actor was discovered by a family member after he suffered an apparent heart attack in his hotel room in Rome.
Michael Kobold, who described himself as a close family friend, read a short statement to reporters Thursday and said little more about the circumstances of Gandolfini's fatal attack. He did not say who discovered Gandolfini.
Meanwhile in the United States, Gandolfini is being mourned in the northern New Jersey towns where his TV character Tony Soprano lived, loved and whacked people.
Vito Mazza, who is busily preparing for an Italian-American festival in Elizabeth this weekend, says Gandolfini was "as Jersey as it gets."
A table at the Bloomfield ice cream parlor where the show's last scene was shot had a sign saying "Reserved."
John Sacco, an Elizabeth butcher, says the show perpetuated stereotypes about Italian-Americans. He says when he went to a dentist in Florida and said he was from New Jersey, someone in the office said, "Oh, the place with all the mobsters!"
The 51-year-old star of the HBO series about a New Jersey mob boss with anxiety issues and a midlife crisis died of cardiac arrest at a Rome hospital late Wednesday night.