Robert De Niro is opening up about his grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez's fatal overdose, saying the 19-year-old's death "shouldn't have happened."
Rodriguez, the only son of the actor's daughter Drena De Niro, 56, died last July from an accidental overdose after taking pills that were laced with fentanyl. The news came as a "shock" to Robert De Niro, who opened up about the experience with People.
"I never thought it would happen," he said. "And I just then started thinking about all the things I could have, should have done maybe with him."
Robert De Niro added, "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."
The Oscar-winning actor released a statement to Page Six upon learning of his grandson's death.
"I'm deeply distressed by the passing of my beloved grandson Leo," he said at the time. "We're greatly appreciative of the condolences from everyone. We ask that we please be given privacy to grieve our loss of Leo."
Drena De Niro, meanwhile, wrote a tribute to her son upon announcing his death on Instagram.
"My beautiful sweet angel. I have loved you beyond words or description from the moment I felt you in my belly," she wrote.
"You have been my joy my heart and all that was ever pure and real in my life," the actor continued. "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."
A 20-year-old woman was later arrested for allegedly selling drugs to Rodriguez, the New York Post reported.
Sofia Haley Marks was apprehended during an undercover sting operation conducted by the NYPD, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Homeland Security, and was federally charged with the distribution of narcotics, sources told the Post.
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