Robert De Niro is in a “very dark place” following the sudden passing of his grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez earlier this month.
According to reports, Leandro was found dead in a New York apartment on July 2. Speculation has insisted he died over a fentanyl overdose, though no official cause of death has yet been revealed by officials.
In the immediate aftermath of his grandson’s death being made public, Heat star Robert De Niro released a statement that read:
“I’m deeply distressed by the passing of my beloved grandson Leo. We’re greatly appreciative of the condolences from everyone. We ask that we please be given privacy to grieve our loss of Leo.”
Leandro’s funeral was held on July 7, with Hollywood icon De Niro described as looking “sombre” as he attended his grandson’s wake alongside family and close friends.
The actor himself has remained relatively quiet in the days since Leandro’s death, but new reports suggest the 79-year-old is struggling to come to terms with the loss.
Speaking to Radar Online, a friend of De Niro’s said: “Bob had a real fondness for Leo. He’s retreated to a very dark place. Everyone’s praying he finds the strength he needs to carry on.”
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 13: Robert De Niro attends “The Irishman” International Premiere and Closing Gala during the 63rd BFI London Film Festival at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on October 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI)
Leandro was the fourth son of Drena De Niro, the daughter of Diahnne Abbot, who was adopted by Robert when he married Diahnne in 1976.
Drena released her own heartfelt statement a few days ago, describing Leandro as “all that was ever pure and real in my life”.
“My beautiful sweet angel. I have loved you beyond words or description from the moment I felt you in my belly,” she said.
“You have been my joy my heart and all that was ever pure and real in my life. I wish I was with you right now. I wish I was with you. I don’t know how to live without you but I’ll try to go on and spread the love and light that you so made me feel in getting to be your mama. You were so deeply loved and appreciated and I wish that love alone could have saved you.“
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 06: Robert De Niro is seen at the wake of his grandson Leandro De Niro on July 06, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
At the funeral service last week, Robert stood beside Drena at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, wrapping his arm around her in support. According to the New York Post, the family continued on to a graveside ceremony at the same Valhalla, NY cemetery where Robert’s father is buried.
On Tuesday, Leandro’s mother Drena claimed that someone had knowingly sold the teen pills that were laced with fentanyl.
“Someone sold him fentanyl-laced pills that they knew were laced yet still sold them to him,” Drena said.
“So for all these people still f–king around selling and buying this s–t, my son is gone forever.”
Earlier in August, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York finally confirmed that the ‘Casino’ actor’s grandson Leandro tragically passed away as a result of an accidental drug overdose.
The Chief Medical Examiner determined that the “toxic effects of fentanyl, bromazolam, alprazolam, 7-aminoclonazepam, ketamine, and cocaine” were the contributing factors to his sudden death, per People.
The manner of Rodriguez’s death was officially ruled as an accident.
Sofia Haley Marks, aged 20, was arrested in July in connection to Leandro’s passing. Allegedly, Marks was involved in selling drugs to him prior to being discovered unresponsive at his Manhattan apartment.
Appearing before a federal court in Manhattan a fortnight later, Marks faced three federal narcotics charges and voluntarily remained in custody until a future bail request.
Robert De Niro is seen in Tribeca on June 21, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
Shortly after her son’s passing, Drena expressed her sorrow on social media, writing: “None of this is right or fair and my heart hurts in a way I never knew possible while still breathing and barely functioning. Leo my darling I love you today like the first day I held you in my arms.”
Drena, who is an actress and filmmaker, collaborated with her son on multiple projects, including the film ‘A Star is Born’.
In a statement released shortly after Leandro’s death, De Niro said: “I’m deeply distressed by the passing of my beloved grandson Leo. We’re greatly appreciative of the condolences from everyone. We ask that we please be given privacy to grieve our loss of Leo.”
Drena further wrote on social media: “The same man that picked us up from the hospital when you were born drove us to the funeral home where I touched and held you for the last time.”
According to some sources, Robert De Niro is close to cracking after losing his grandson and welcoming his seventh child this year.
An insider who has previously worked with De Niro has now revealed that these significant life changes may eventually cause the actor to “crack”, telling The Sun: “Knowing De Niro is knowing a guy who isn’t affected much by the ups and downs of life. His attitude is that emotions are for the screen, and in real life he goes out of his way to present an icy-calm, rock-steady demeanour.”
The insider continued: “He’s seen a lot and been through a lot. He doesn’t have anything to prove to anybody at this point, and he can still snap his finger and get a movie made, which is the definition of power in Hollywood but he has had an absolutely crazy 2023.”
Harvey Keitel and Daphna Kastner are seen at the wake of Robert De Niro’s grandson Leandro De Niro on July 06, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
Rest in peace, Leandro, another young life taken far too soon.
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