James Gandolfini's Body Returned to U.S.

James Gandolfini Funeral Thursday in Manhattan
James Gandolfini

updated 06/24/2013 AT 06:05 AM EDT

originally published 06/23/2013 AT 04:00 PM EDT

The body of James Gandolfini, who died in Rome Wednesday, has been returned to the U.S., a Port Authority of New York & New Jersey spokesman confirms.

A Signature Airlines flight carrying the actor's body arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport from Rome Sunday night. The body was taken from the airport around 11:20 p.m., said the Port Authority rep, Steve Coleman.

News reports say the body was then taken to a New Jersey funeral home.

Sunday morning, family spokesman Michael Kobold said: "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.

"We are fully aware that this process usually takes seven days, and we are extremely grateful for their efficiency in dealing with this matter. It has been our privilege to be guests in your beautiful country, despite the difficult circumstances. We sincerely thank you."

Kobold thanked various agencies involved for their assistance and concluded that details of funeral arrangements were to come.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, June 27, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Gandolfini, 51, died of a heart attack, an autopsy revealed.

The beloved star had been headed to Sicily to appear at the Taormina Film Festival, which paid tribute to him Saturday.

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