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James Gandolfini’s Last Day Was ‘Marvelous’ – How Would You Spend Yours?

James Gandolfini (Sonia Recchia/Getty Images)
James Gandolfini (Sonia Recchia/Getty Images)

Do me a solid and take a minute to watch and listen to this.
It’s a song we should all live by from Tim McGraw.

He knew a little something about this, as he stood by his father, famed Met and Phillies reliever Tug McGraw, who was dying of brain cancer.

Death came to James Gandolfini without a warning.
He had no clue that his trip to Italy was going to be the last thing he’d do on earth.

And how lucky he was to have had the chance to do the thing he loved on his last day.

I think to myself, whenever I’m overcome with anger, apprehension, sadness, or regret: “…f%$# it all.” I got my health, my family, a career as a well traveled “radio journeyman” that I’ve always wanted, I got to see my daughter marry the man of her dreams at the most beautiful wedding a father could possibly give to his daughter; and they gave me a beautiful grandson to boot!

Who’s better than me?
(Remind me to take this out whenever I feel like crap!)

So were I to die today, that’s what I’d like as my obit.
And I would probably spend mine playing with my grandson; who’s smile lights up the room!

But what would you look to do on that fateful day if you knew?

According to this, Gandolfini just finished up a marvelous day in Rome when the fateful moment struck.

James Gandolfini had just finished a “marvelous” day with his family in Rome when he suffered what appeared to be a massive heart attack late Wednesday, dying in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Gandolfini, 51, was touring Italy ahead of a weekend appearance at Sicily’s Taormina Film Festival, where he was scheduled to receive an award Saturday and participate in a roundtable conversation on American cinema with film director Gabriele Muccino and actress Marisa Tomei.

Mario Sesti, Taormina’s artistic director, said he spoke to Gandolfini late Wednesday local time.

“He was so happy to be in Italy, to reconnect with his Italian roots, and he was very excited to come here and receive this award,” Sesti said, adding that the festival planned to change Saturday’s roundtable discussion to an homage to Gandolfini including film clips of many of his best-known roles.

The festival hosted a separate roundtable discussion with actress Meg Ryan on Thursday, and though Gandolfini was not mentioned, many of those in attendance said they were shocked by the news of the actor’s death.

“It seems impossible that he died here in Italy and at such a young age,” said Maria Rosa Catanese, 21, a student at Thursday’s discussion.

Added Vito Brambati, 22, another student: “I was looking forward to seeing him Saturday. He was a great actor and he had many more great roles to play. It’s a tragedy.”

Gandolfoni’s parents were both born in Italy, though the actor himself was a native of New Jersey.

Gandolfini was traveling with his wife, Deborah Lin, daughter Liliana, 9 months, and son Michael, 13, among other family members. News reports said it was Michael who alerted hotel staff after the heart attack.

“We all had a marvelous day together, and when he returned to the hotel.”

Not all of us will have that “marvelous day”, but just to look at the little things that make each day special makes each day marvelous.

And by the way, why wait till someone passes to say nice things about them?

Farewell Jimmy…you had a good life!

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