The death of James Gandolfini rocked the world, and his generosity is still changing lives in the wake of his death. Gandolfini left the bulk of his estate to his children, but also left a surprising gift to a friend with an autistic son.
"I was shocked," Doug Katz told the New York Post in response to learning of his $50,000 inheritance. "He's my son's guardian angel."
While the move caught Katz off-guard, he was not completely surprised, given that Gandolfini helped Katz whenever he could. Katz has a 12-year-old son, Andrew, who has autism. It requires a lot of time and money to take care of Andrew, and Katz said that Gandolfini was extremely generous with his friends.
"He got him nutritional supplements, anything Andrew needed to help him lead a better life. Jim sponsored gymnastics for my son. He always said, 'How can we help? How can we make it better?' And none of it was lip service," Katz said.
"I'd rather have Jim alive than his money," Katz added. "You could never meet a nicer guy in the world. He was the glue that kept us all together."
Katz said that he will put the money in a trust for Andrew so that he will always be taken care of and shared a fond memory of his time with Gandolfini.
"Every summer, we'd go down to his Jersey Shore beach house. Jim would always take Andrew to do something. I never had to worry because the beach was a safe house. We'd go down and just have a good time," Katz said.
The bulk of Gandolfini's estate went to his children, with 13-year-old son Michael inheriting a $7 million life-insurance trust, $200,000 in clothing and jewelry, and the purchasing rights to his West Village apartment. He also left his Italian home to both Michael and his half-sister, Liliana.
"It is my hope and desire that they will continue to own said property and keep it in our family for as long as possible," Gandolfini said in his will.