ROME - The body of actor James Gandolfini, who died of a heart attack in Rome last week, was flown out of Italy on Sunday on a flight bound for New York, Rome airport authorities said.
Gandolfini, best known for his starring role in the Emmy-winning series The Sopranos, was found dead in his Rome hotel late on Wednesday.
The actor's body left Rome's Fiumicino airport around 1600 GMT/1200 EDT on a private flight, an airport official said.
Gandolfini's funeral will be held at New York City's Cathedral of Saint John the Divine on Thursday morning, a spokeswoman for the HBO channel said on Sunday.
Family friend Michael Kobold, speaking to reporters in Rome, thanked the Italian authorities and US Secretary of State John Kerry for helping to accelerate procedures.
Gandolfini was on holiday in Italy with his 13-year-old son and was due to attend the closing of the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily on Saturday. An autopsy showed he died of natural causes.