Less than a year after his grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez passed away from a drug overdose, Robert De Niro opened up about the tragic loss.
During a recent interview with PEOPLE, De Niro reflected on the death of his 19-year-old grandson. “It’s just a shock,” he explained. “[I] never thought it would happen. And I just then started thinking about all the things I could have, should have done maybe with him. I don’t know if that would’ve made a difference. And so that’s always playing through my mind. It shouldn’t have happened.”
PEOPLE also reported that a New York resident, Sophia Marks, was arrested in connection to the death of Robert De Niro’s grandson. Legal documents reveal that she had sold a total of 50 suspected counterfeit oxycodone pills to an undercover police officer.
“On July 13, following Marks’ second sale to the undercover officer,” the documents read. “She was arrested and found to be in possession of approximately 156 more suspected counterfeit oxycodone pills and approximately $1,500 in cash.”
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated that Marks had sold “fake oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl.” At least one of Marks’ counterfeit pills was purchased and taken by Rodriguez. “The arrest was critical because, as we allege, Marks knew the pills could kill, and she continued selling them anyway.”
Robert De Niro’s Daughter Drena previously shared an image of her visiting Leandro’s grave last fall. “If everyone valued the depth of love [and] sadness, a person can feel I don’t believe we’d have wars, we wouldn’t hurt children or animals, our planet and oceans the way we do,” she wrote.
She then added, “I’ll never get used to this, no one should.”
Robert De Niro Talks About Fatherhood
Along with discussing his grandson’s death, Robert De Niro spoke to PEOPLE about fatherhood. He has seven children, including his youngest Gia, who was born last year. The actor shares his baby girl with his partner, martial arts instructor Tiffany Chen.
“She’s such an adorable baby,” De Niro explained. “So sweet. [When I] look at her, everything else goes away. So it’s a great joy and relief to just be with her in the moment.”
Robert De Niro also said that his older children love little Gia. “The kids all get a big kick out of her,” he noted. “The grandkids even. She’s their aunt— [and] they’re about to be teenagers! The fact that they’d all be together is everything to me.”