Gandolfini body back in US, funeral Thursday

The body of actor James Gandolfini has been returned to the United States and funeral services for the celebrated star of "The Sopranos" will be held on Thursday, his family and TV network HBO said.

Gandolfini, 51, died of a heart attack during a trip to Italy last week, his sudden demise triggering a wave of tributes from across the entertainment world.

"Jim is back home. Finally. We landed last night at Newark," family spokesman Michael Kobold wrote in a post on Facebook on Monday.

A funeral service for the Italian-American actor, best known for his role as mafia boss Tony Soprano in the hugely influential cable television series, has been scheduled for 10:00 am (1600 GMT) Thursday at Saint John The Divine Cathedral in New York, an HBO spokesman said.

Flags flew at half-mast in New Jersey on Monday in a mark of respect to Gandolfini, a native of the northeastern US state.