James Gandolfini's body will be shipped home to America from Italy on Monday (24Jun13) as family members and friends prepare to bid farewell to the actor at a funeral in New York on Thursday (27Jun13).

The Sopranos star suffered a heart attack in Rome while on vacation with his teenage son and died on Wednesday (19Jun13).

Gandolfini's spokesman, Michael Kobold, addressed the media at the Boscolo Exedra Hotel, where the star and his family were staying at the time of his death, over the weekend, and thanked the Italian authorities for their help in the wake of the tragedy.

He 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."

Kobold also thanked Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband, ex-President Bill Clinton, for their assistance, adding, "We would like to thank the United States government, especially Secretary Kerry and our friends at the State Department for helping us in this time of need. Our expressed thanks to the people at the Italy desk at the State Department for working day and night on our behalf. We thank President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for their kind support."

Sources claim the funeral service will take place at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in upper Manhattan on Thursday morning.