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Robert De Niro's 19-year-old grandson was sold pills laced with fentanyl, heartbroken mother claims
6 July 2023, 06:13 | Updated: 6 July 2023, 07:17
The grandson of Robert de Niro died after taking pills that had been laced with an extra-strong man-made opioid.
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News emerged that Leandro De Niro Rodriguez passed away aged 19 on Monday in New York.
His mother Drena, did not reveal her son's cause of death initially, but opened up on Instagram on Wednesday.
Responding to a question about how Rodriguez had died, the 51-year-old said: "Someone sold him fentanyl laced pills that they knew were laced yet still sold them to him.
"So for all these people still f***ing around selling and buying this shit, my son is gone for ever."
The toxicology test results have not been released, so the cause of death is not official. New York police are investigating the death as a possible overdose, according to local media.
Several US outlets have reported that Rodriguez was found with white powder and drug paraphernalia nearby.
Speaking out following his grandson's death, Robert De Niro said he was "deeply distressed".
"We’re greatly appreciative of the condolences from everyone," he added. "We ask that we please be given privacy to grieve our loss of Leo."
Drena, who De Niro adopted, made a heartbreaking Instagram tribute after her son's death.
"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.
"I'm so sorry my baby, I'm so sorry @carlosmare. Rest in Peace and Eternal Paradise my darling boy."
Rodriguez was born to artist Carlos Rodriguez and Drena.
He had appeared in the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga hit film A Star is Born, taking after his legendary grandfather.
Drena took De Niro's surname after he married her mother, Diahnne Abbott, in 1976.
De Niro has seven children, most recently having Gia in April with girlfriend Tiffany Chen.