Leonardo De Niro Cause of Death: Robert De Niro's Grandson Died after Taking Fentanyl-Laced Pills, Mother Drena De Niro Claims

Drena De Niro, has made the distressing claim that someone intentionally sold her son drugs that were contaminated or altered.

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Leonardo De Niro Rodriguez, the grandson of Robert De Niro, died of fentanyl overdose. His heartbroken mother, Drena De Niro, confirmed on Tuesday that Leonardo died after taking pills laced with fentanyl. However, his exact cause of death is yet to be confirmed. Leonardo, 19, was found by a concerned friend who went to visit him at his New York City apartment.

Authorities are investigating the teenager's death as a possible overdose after his lifeless body was found in his Lower Manhattan apartment on Sunday. According to police sources, drug paraphernalia and a white, powdery substance were found next to Leonardo De Niro's body

Possible Drug Overdose

De Niros
Leonardo De Niro Rodriguez, Drena De Niro and Robert De Niro Twitter

While the toxicology report is still pending, the mother of the deceased teenager, Drena De Niro, has made the distressing claim that someone intentionally sold her son drugs that were contaminated or altered.

"Someone sold him fentanyl-laced pills that they knew were laced yet still sold them to him," Drena, 51, wrote on Instagram on Tuesday after someone asked her about the cause of her son's death.

"So for all these people still f–king around selling and buying this s–t, my son is gone forever," she added.

The official cause of death has not been disclosed by the city's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. However, sources indicate that detectives from the Narcotics Borough Manhattan South of the NYPD have been assigned to investigate the case.

Their involvement suggests that they may be looking into the source of the drugs and determining if anyone played a role in providing them to Leonardo De Niro.

Leonardo De Niro Rodriguez
Leonardo De Niro Rodriguez Twitter

In a statement last month, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig informed reporters that fentanyl is present in approximately 98% of the drugs found in New York City.

"Fentanyl is in everything now, everything," Essig said. "Now people have low tolerance, that's why they're overdosing so much."

Leonardo, whose death was confirmed by his mother Drena De Niro on Monday, was found by a concerned friend who went to visit him at his New York City apartment.

The concerned friend reportedly visited Leonardo De Niro's apartment on Sunday afternoon to check on the 19-year-old actor as they hadn't heard from him for a few days, TMZ reported.

Leonardo De Niro Rodriguez
Leonardo De Niro Rodriguez with his mother Drena De Niro Twitter

Upon arrival, Leonardo De Niro was found dead while seated in a chair.

The presence of a white powdery substance and drug-related objects nearby was confirmed by law enforcement sources, as reported by The New York Post. The white powdery substance was found on a plate near his body and there were no signs of trauma.

Tributes Continue to Pour In

Leonardo had been living alone in a luxurious sixth-floor apartment, which he had rented for less than a year. The apartment is located in the same building as Cipriani, a high-end venue known for hosting various events.

The concierge at 55 Wall Street also confirmed that Leandro lived in the building.

The person described Leandro as a friendly and approachable young man who would always greet them with a hello whenever they entered or left the premises.

Robert De Niro
Instagram grab/ Robert De Niro

"I'd see him every now and then, and he'd always say hi,' the concierge said. 'He just was friendly, kept to himself."

"I didn't know who he was until I read the story,' he said. 'It's a tragedy. I was just talking to my coworker that said my daughter just turned 20. You see his (Leandro's) picture, he was a baby."

Leonardo's death was first confirmed by his mother Drena De Niro on Monday. "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. 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," the heartbroken mom continued.

"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," she added.

Drena also mentioned Carlos Mare, Leandro's artist father, and shared her condolences with him. Carlos Mare posted a blacked-out image on his Instagram page, potentially symbolizing his mourning and grief.

Leonardo De Niro Rodriguez
Leonardo De Niro Rodriguez with his grandfather Robert De Niro and father Carlos Mare Twitter

Leandro De Niro, the young actor, had a role alongside his mother Drena in the 2018 film "A Star Is Born." In the movie, he portrayed the character of George "Noodles" Stone's son, played by Dave Chappelle. George Stone played the best friend of Jackson Maine, portrayed by Bradley Cooper.

The mother and son shared the screen in multiple other films. They appeared together in the movies "The Collection" in 2005 and "Cabaret Maxime" in 2018, showcasing their on-screen collaboration and shared passion for acting.

Drena De Niro was adopted by Robert De Niro and took on his surname after he married her mother, Diahnne Abbott, in 1976. Due to her father's active career, Drena had a somewhat transient lifestyle, dividing her time between New York City, Los Angeles, and Italy. This dynamic upbringing allowed her to experience different cultures and environments throughout her life.

During his second marriage to former actress and model Toukie Smith, Robert De Niro became a father to twin boys named Julian and Aaron. Born in 1995, the twins were brought into the world through a surrogate.

Following that, De Niro and his then-wife Grace Hightower had a son named Elliot in 1998. In 2011, they welcomed a daughter named Helen, who was also born via surrogate. The De Niro family expanded with the addition of these children, bringing joy and love into their lives.

This article was first published on July 6, 2023