Robert De Niro has spoken out for the first time since news broke of his grandson’s death earlier this week. As previously reported, the 79-year-old’s grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez, 19, died after being found unresponsive in his New York City apartment on Sunday (July 2).
So far, no official cause of death has been released. De Niro’s adopted daughter Drena, 55, took to social media to confirm her son’s sudden passing, writing on Instagram: “My beautiful sweet angel. I have loved you beyond words or description from the moment I felt you in my belly.”
The actress continued: “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.”
“I’m so sorry my baby,” Drena concluded, ended her tribute, also tagging Leandro’s artist father, Carlos Rodriguez in the post. “Rest in Peace and Eternal Paradise my darling boy.” De Niro himself has now released a statement surrounding the tragedy, with a representative telling Page Six: “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.”
In a later post, Drena wrote another harrowing tribute to her son, saying that she “can barely type” through her tears. “None of this is right or fair and my heart hurts in a way I never knew possible while still breathing and barely functioning,” the devastated mother said.
“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 … I’m holding you every second of every moment I’m my heart and memories until I’m with you again,” she added.
A representative for the New York Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information explained that “an 18-year-old male was found unconscious, unresponsive and was pronounced deceased by EMS on scene” after police received a 911 at around 2:23 p.m. on Sunday, per People.
Drena is the oldest of De Niro’s seven children – the youngest of whom is only a few months old – and her mother is the Casino actor’s first wife Diahnne Abbott.