ROME — A friend of "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini said Thursday the actor was discovered by a family member in his hotel room in Rome before he was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest at a hospital.
Michael Kobold, who described himself as a close family friend, read a short statement to reporters, but said little more about the circumstances of Gandolfini's death on Wednesday night.
He did not say who discovered Gandolfini, 51, but NBC quoted Antonio D'Amore, manager of the Boscolo Excedra hotel, as saying it was the actor's 13-year-old son, Michael.
Gandolfini had appeared in advertisements for Kobold's company, Kobold Watches.
Gandolfini was pronounced dead at 11 p.m. Wednesday in Rome after being taken by ambulance to the Policlinic Umberto I hospital.
Dr. Claudio Modini, head of the hospital emergency room, said Gandolfini arrived at the hospital at 10:40 p.m. (2040 GMT; 4:40 p.m. EDT) and was pronounced dead after resuscitation efforts in the ambulance and hospital failed.
An autopsy would be performed starting 24 hours after the death, as required by law, Modini told The Associated Press.
The actor, known for his portrayal of the tortured Italian-American mob boss Tony Soprano, was to have received an award and taken part in the closing ceremony Saturday of the Taormina Film Festival, which takes place against the backdrop of Taormina's spectacular Roman amphitheater.
He also was to have given a special class Saturday morning at the festival, as was done by actor Jeremy Irons earlier in the week.
Festival organizers Mario Sesti and Tiziana Rocca said instead they would organize a tribute "to celebrate his great achievement and talent." They said they had heard from Gandolfini a few hours before he died, and "he was very happy to receive this award and be able to travel to Italy."