James Gandolfini’s body to return to the US on Monday (June 24)

Tony Soprano actor suffered a heart attack while on holiday in Rome

James Gandolfini‘s body will be returned to the US tomorrow (June 24), a family spokesman has confirmed.

In a statement released today, spokesman Michael Kobold said: “We are now looking at hopefully getting James Gandolfini’s remains back to the States tomorrow. The provisional plan is to depart Rome tomorrow afternoon and arrive in the US in the evening.”

Read our tribute on blogs: RIP James Gandolfini, The Greatest Actor, Of The Greatest TV Show

Kobold also thanked the Italian authorities for their help in returning Gandolfini, who died of a heart attack aged 51 while on holiday in Rome last Wednesday (June 19), home.

He added: “On behalf of the Gandolfini family, I would like to thank the Italian authorities for all the assistance they have rendered in expediting the formalities necessary to repatriate James Gandolfini’s remains to the United States. It has been our privilege to be guests in your beautiful country, despite the difficult circumstances. We sincerely thank you.”

Gandolfini played Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano in 86 episodes of acclaimed TV series The Sopranos between 1999 and 2007, winning a Golden Globe and three Emmys for his performance. Responding to news of his death, the show’s creator David Chase labelled Gandolfini a “genius”.

Musicians including Kings Of Leon, Slash and Justin Timberlake also paid tribute to the actor. Leading the tributes to Gandolfini was Bruce Springsteen guitarist Steven Van Zandt, who also co-starred in The Sopranos. He wrote on Twitter: “I have lost a brother and a best friend. The world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time.”

Gandolfini was born in Westwood, New Jersey in 1961 and began his acting career in the late ’80s. Over the years, he appeared in more than 40 films, including Get Shorty, Crimson Tide and this year’s Zero Dark Thirty and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. His final film appearance will come in Animal Rescue, a crime drama co-starring Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace due for release next year (2014).

Gandolfini is survived by his second wife, former model Deborah Lin, whom he married in 2008, and their eight-month-old daughter Liliana. He also leaves a teenage son, Michael, from his first marriage which ended in 2002.