Flags are flying at half-mast in New Jersey today in memory of The Sopranos star James Gandolfini, whose remains have been returned to the U.S. from Italy.

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie ordered the tribute for the New Jersey actor, who died last Wednesday in Rome after suffering a heart attack. He had travelled to Italy to appear at the annual Taormina Film Festival.

Gandolfini was a "New Jersey treasure," Christie said, adding that the 51-year-old actor "left a timeless impact on television and film in the state of New Jersey and across our nation."

According to a Port Authority spokesman, a flight carrying Gandolfini's remains arrived at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport from Rome on Sunday night. He declined to disclose where the body was taken afterward.

Gandolfini's funeral is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York, according to a spokeswoman for HBO, which produced and aired The Sopranos.

Born and raised in New Jersey and a graduate of Rutgers, the state's flagship public university, Gandolfini gained widespread fame with his indelible performance as the complex, therapy-seeking mob boss Tony Soprano in HBO's acclaimed series.

A prolific actor seen in a host of film roles, the Tony-nominated, Emmy-winning performer also appeared on Broadway and made several documentaries.

He is survived by his wife, Deborah, their infant daughter Liliana and his teenage son Michael from his first marriage.

With files from The Associated Press