Robert De Niro broke his silence on the death of his 19-year-old grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez.
“I’m deeply distressed by the passing of my beloved grandson Leo,” De Niro, 79, told Us Weekly in a statement on Monday, July 3. “We’re greatly appreciative of the condolences from everyone. We ask that we please be given privacy to grieve our loss of Leo.”
Leandro was the son of Robert’s eldest daughter, Drena De Niro, whom the Irishman actor adopted while he was married to Diahnne Abbott. Drena, 51, welcomed Leandro with artist Carlos Mare in 2004. Shortly after the news broke, Drena responded to the support she and her family have received following the tragic loss.
“It is with immeasurable shock and sadness that we say goodbye to our beloved son Leo,” she said in a statement to Us on Monday. “We thank you for the outpouring of love and support and ask that we are given privacy at this time to process this inconsolable grief.”
Drena announced the news of Leandro’s death on Sunday, July 2, in a touching tribute post.
“My beautiful sweet angel. I have loved you beyond words or description from the moment I felt you in my belly. You have been my joy my heart and all that was ever pure and real in my life,” she wrote via Instagram at the time, alongside a photo of the teenager. “I wish I was with you right now. I wish I was with you.”
She continued: “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 😞.”
Mare, for his part, honored their late son in the comments of Drena’s post.
“😢 My dear Drena … words aren’t enough to express the joy he gave us or the loss we now endure with our families and friends. He is Godschild now. 🙏🏼,” Mare commented on Instagram. “On this full moon his spirit luminates what could not be seen in the dark. You can’t spell LOVE without LEO 👼💔💔.”
Before his passing, Leandro was following in his mother and grandfather’s footsteps as he pursued a career in acting. The teenager appeared in multiple roles alongside Drena including the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born, 2005’s The Collection and 2018’s Cabaret Maxime.