Robert De Niro's daughter describes holding son for 'last time'

Robert De Niro’s daughter describes holding son for ‘last time’ in heartbreaking Instagram post a day after 18-year-old was found dead – and says ‘my heart is broken forever’

  • Drena De Niro, 51, shared a heart-breaking Instagram post in the wake of her 18-year-old son Leandro’s death, along with a monochrome photograph of him

Robert De Niro’s daughter has described holding her son Leandro for the final time in a heartbreaking Instagram post shared the day after he died. 

Writing on Monday, Drena De Niro, 51, said she held her 18-year-old son ‘for the last time’ at a funeral home, saying: ‘my heart is broken forever’.  

The teenager’s lifeless body was found sitting in a chair beside white powder inside a $950,000, one-bedroom apartment in the Cipriani Club Residences on Wall Street, New York, on Sunday, and a cause of death has not yet been confirmed. 

His mother – an American actress adopted by De Niro after the actor married her mother, Diahnne Abbott in 1976 – announced his death on Monday, saying: ‘I wish that love alone could have saved you’.

She later added a close-up monochrome photograph of Leandro laughing, thanking friends and family members who had offered support in the wake of his unexpected death. 

Drena De Niro posted a monochrome photograph of her 18-year-old son Leandro on Instagram, along with a heart-breaking caption about holding him for the final time at a funeral home 

Drena, 51, announced the tragic loss of Leandro on Monday, not revealing his cause of death but declaring ‘I wish that love alone could have saved you’ (Leonardo pictured with Drena and grandfather Robert) 

‘I can barely type through my tears but all the love, the messages, calls, texts, emails, the friends and family that held me up these last 24 hrs I’ve not been able to respond yet but we’re grateful for the all your love and condolences,’ she said. 

‘None of this is right or fair and my heart hurts in a way I never knew possible while still breathing and barely functioning. 

‘Leo my darling I love you today like the first day I held you in my arms.’ 

The grieving mother added that she was taken to the funeral home where she ‘touched and held’ her son for the final time, by the same driver who picked them up from the hospital when he was born.    

‘You were kindness acceptance and love and I can’t believe any of this is real YOU made everything bearable and every burden lighter,’ she added. 

Drena De Niro’s heart-breaking post about holding her 18-year-old son for the ‘last time’

‘You didn’t deserve to die like this but I can only believe that God needed a strong powerful angel in their army. 

‘I’m holding you every second of every moment in my heart and memories until I’m with you again. My heart is broken forever. 

‘Me daddy and your family love you , I love I love you with every beat of my crying heart.’

She also shared a series of photographs of Leandro with her 27.5k followers on her Instagram Story, including some of him as a younger child. 

Leandro’s father, artist Carlos Rodriguez, posted a black square on Instagram on the day of his son’s death. 

Rodriguez has been quieter in the wake of the tragedy, but he too recently shared a reel showing photographs of Leandro and their family, featuring the song Blessings by Hollow Coves. 

He shared the reel alongside the caption: ‘Thank you for your messages of support. 

‘Drena De Niro and our families are grateful. You can’t spell love without Leo.’ 

Robert De Niro also released a statement about his grandson’s death, saying he was ‘deeply distressed’ and appreciated the condolences which had poured in for his family.

‘I’m deeply distressed by the passing of my beloved grandson Leo,’ he said. 

‘We’re greatly appreciative of the condolences from everyone. We ask that we please be given privacy to grieve our loss of Leo.’

Aspiring actor and director Leandro was following in his mother and grandfather’s career footsteps, landing small roles in 2018’s A Star Is Born and Cabaret Maxime and 2005’s The Collection.

Leandro’s mother – an American actress adopted by De Niro after the actor married her mother, Diahnne Abbott in 1976 – announced his death on Monday, saying: ‘I wish that love alone could have saved you’

Aspiring actor and director Leandro was following in his mother and grandfather’s career footsteps, landing small roles in 2018’s A Star Is Born and Cabaret Maxime and 2005’s The Collection.

His mother Drena was adopted by De Niro, and took his surname, after the actor married her mother, Diahnne Abbott, in 1976.

She had a relatively transient lifestyle thanks to her father’s vibrant career and split her time between New York City, Los Angeles, and Italy.

Drena left school and explored the arts, turning her hand to a whole host of career paths including modeling, DJing and fashion consulting. 

She eventually decided to follow in De Niro’s footsteps and soon found her feet as an actress and filmmaker.

Her first role was in Allison Anders’ Grace of My Heart in 1996 and she went on to star in several of her father’s films including 1999’s On The Run, 2002’s City By The Sea and 2002’s Showtime.

De Niro split with Drena’s mother in 1988 but the Hollywood A-lister remained in her life nonetheless.

She made him a grandfather in 2003 when she welcomed Leandro with her then-boyfriend Carlos Rodriguez.

Drena, who currently lives in New York, has since turned her attention to directing, and she also describes herself as being trained in Muay Thai and martial arts.

At 51, Drena is five years older than his oldest biological child, Raphael, with Abbott. 

Raphael, 46, works as a Manhattan estate agent whose celebrity clients have included Jon Bon Jovi and Renee Zellweger.

Final post: Robert De Niro ‘s grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez also appeared in a heartbreaking social media post shared by his mother Drena on Mother’s Day 

Parents: De Niro adopted Diahnne Abbott’s daughter after the pair married in 1976 (pictured together in New York in 1977)

De Niro also has two children — twins Aaron and Julian — from his relationship between 1988 and 1995 with former model and actress Toukie Smith. 

They were conceived via IVF and delivered by a surrogate mother.

In 1998, he also had a son, Elliot, and in 2011, a daughter, Helen, (also born via surrogate) during a stormy 20-year marriage to his second wife, former flight attendant Grace Hightower.

In May, the 79-year-old actor confirmed that he’d welcomed his seventh child.

There has been no official confirmation of the mother’s identity but his significantly younger girlfriend, Tiffany Chen, 43, was photographed prior with what appeared to be a baby bump.

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