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Robert De Niro says grandson’s overdose death ‘shouldn’t have happened’

NEW YORK — Robert De Niro was in “disbelief” after hearing of the death of his grandson, Leandro De Niro Rodriguez, last July.

“It’s just a shock,” the star told People Magazine on Wednesday. “[I] never thought it would happen.”

The 19-year-old grandson died in New York City on July 2, 2023, from what a medical examiner determined was an overdose of “fentanyl, bromazolam, alprazolam, 7-aminoclonazepam, ketamine, and cocaine,” according to a report.

“I just then started thinking about all the things I could have, should have done maybe with him,” said Robert De Niro, 80. “I don’t know if that would’ve made a difference. And so that’s always playing through my mind.”

Leandro De Niro was the only son of the actor’s daughter Drena, 56. The youth’s body was found in a Financial District apartment, after his mother claimed he was sold “fentanyl-laced pills” that he believed to be oxycodone.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” Robert De Niro was quoted as saying by People, calling the tragedy “awful.”

Sophia Marks, 20, was arrested less than two weeks after the death for allegedly selling the drugs that led to the grandson’s overdose. She was charged with three counts of narcotics distribution, each of which carry sentences of up to 20 years behind bars.

Marks also sold the fentanyl-laced pills to an undercover cop prior to her arrest, according to a criminal complaint previously obtained by the Daily News.

“[P]lease be careful with these. [D]on’t do more than one at a time … my friend just died,” she allegedly told the officer, referring to a different 19-year-old who died the previous month.