What happened to James Caan? Cause of death revealed days after ‘The Godfather’ star’s passing

James Caan at the red carpet in 2012 (Image via Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
James Caan at the red carpet in 2012 (Image via Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
Abhirup Sengupta

On July 6, The Godfather star James Caan passed away at 82. The actor was best known for portraying Sonny Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather series. The actor’s manager shared the news of his demise a day after his passing via the late star’s Twitter.

At the time, the cause of his death was not revealed. However, Caan’s previous health issues hinted at what could have been the primary reason behind his death. In 2015, the actor suffered from a chest infection, leading to hospitalization. The latest report from TMZ confirmed that Caan had cardiac issues.

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6.The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.End of tweet

According to the official death certificate of the late veteran actor, Caan had a heart attack, amongst other complications.

James Caan’s cause of death (Details explored)


As per the official documents of the death certificate obtained by TMZ, James Caan had the underlying chronic inflammatory pulmonary condition known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

This meant the actor had a lot of trouble getting ample oxygen in his lungs and had likely suffered from breathing difficulties, excessive mucus production, and coughs.

Furthermore, the octogenarian also had congestive heart failure, which meant Caan’s heart could not supply enough blood throughout his body. According to WebMD,

“Severe COPD can cause heart failure in your heart’s lower right chamber or ventricle. This is a condition called right-sided heart failure or cor pulmonale.”

However, it must be noted that the documents obtained by TMZ did not clarify if the actor had a cardiac condition on the right side of his heart. As is common in patients with COPD and heart disorders, breathing troubles often cannot be isolated to just one cause. WebMD further reports,

“If COPD and heart failure are equally severe, doctors must make their best guess as to which condition is causing your symptoms. To make things even more complicated, COPD and heart failure can at times act up at the same time.

James Caan has suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) for the last few years as the actor was likely hospitalized in 2015 because of the disorder. At the time, it was publicly reported that Caan had a chest infection in Toronto.

TMZ’s report further mentioned that James Caan passed away at 9:02 pm on July 6. He was pronounced dead at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he was reportedly admitted as his condition deteriorated.

No further details surrounding his death are available to the public. It has been reported that Caan was buried in Los Angeles and now rests in the Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills.

As of now, it is not known if the family plans to hold a publicly accessible memorial service for the late actor. Caan’s funeral may have already occurred privately with family, friends, and associates in attendance.

James Caan has left behind a legacy that has spread over six decades. The actor appeared in numerous iconic roles like The Glory Guys, The Rain People, and more. Caan is now survived by his sons, Scott, James, Jacob, Alexander, and his daughter Tara.

Amongst his children, Scott Caan is the only one who forayed into acting like his father. Scott has appeared in roles such as Turk in the Ocean series.

Edited by Srijan Sen


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