Robert De Niro reacts to grandson Leandro’s death at age 19: ‘Deeply distressed’

Leandro De Niro Rodriguez was the son of The Godfather actor’s daughter Drena De Niro

Robert De Niro​​ has released a statement following the heartbreaking death of grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez at age 19. “I’m deeply distressed by the passing of my beloved grandson Leo,” the Oscar-winning actor told Page Six on Monday.

“We’re greatly appreciative of the condolences from everyone. We ask that we please be given privacy to grieve our loss of Leo.” Robert’s daughter Drena revealed the tragic news on Sunday. Taking to social media on July 2, Drena – the daughter of The Godfather actor and his ex-wife Diahnne Abbott – confirmed the death in a tribute post.

“My beautiful sweet angel,” the 51-year-old’s Instagram caption began. She continued: “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.”

Drena, who was adopted by Robert when he married Diahnne in 1976, then confirmed the death of the son who she shares with the artist Carlos Mare: “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.”

She finished her message: “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.”

Following Leandro’s death, his father has not made a public statement, however he did share a black square to Instagram under which friends and fans have been leaving messages of condolences. No news has been shared about Leandro’s cause of death.

Leandro took after his grandfather and mother before him and was an actor. His most recent roles included a part alongside his mom, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born (2018). Other credits included roles in the crime film Cabaret Maxine, and a part as a child in the 2005 feature The Collection.

Leandro was evidently very close to his mom, having recently celebrated Mother’s Day with her in May. “Mother’s Day – A Lil bit of Leo, Lil bit of Mare,” Drena captioned her photos from the day, adding: “Today was a good day.”

News of Leandro’s death comes just a month after his grandfather announced that he has welcomed his seventh child with his current girlfriend, Tiffany Chen. The Goodfellas actor revealed that he and Tiffany’s daughter, Gia Virginia Chen De Niro, was born on April 6, 2023. Robert later suggested he was open to the idea of having even more children, telling Extra: “I’m going to have a new one every year.”

Drena is the oldest of Robert’s seven children, as she was born before her mom welcomed Raphael, her and Robert’s first biological child in 1976. The Irishman actor was together with Diahnne from 1976 to 1988, when they divorced.

Following his marriage to Drena’s mom and Leandro’s grandmother, Robert was in a relationship with the model Toukie Smith. Toukie and the New York-born actor had twins, Julian and Aaron, in 1995, before they split in 1996. In 1997, Robert married socialite and actress Grace Hightower, and the couple share two children – Elliot, born 1998 and Helen, born 2011.