The New York Police Department confirmed to Deadline that officers found Tarantina unresponsive on his couch at 12:40 a.m. His cause of death is under investigation.
“On Saturday, November 2, 2019 at approximately 0040 hours, police responded to a 911 call of an unconscious male inside of 353 West 51 Street, apartment 11,” the NYPD said in a statement. “Upon arrival, officers observed a 60-year-old male, unconscious and unresponsive, fully-clothed, on his couch. EMS responded to the location and pronounced the aided male deceased at the scene (his residence).”
A rep for the actor did not immediately respond to Deadline’s request for comment. However, in a statement to People, a rep said Tarantina had been ill.
“He was recently in the hospital and was in the process of recuperating from what I believe to be a heart-related issue,” the rep stated.
Tarantina played “Jackie,” emcee of the Gaslight comedy club where Rachel Brosnahan’s “Midge” performs. He took home a Screen Actors Guild Award with the rest of the cast earlier this year, in the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series category.
The show paid tribute to him on Twitter this afternoon, writing: “The Gaslight won’t be the same without you.”
The actor portrayed “Bootsy” on the Gilmore Girls from 2001- 2002, as well as in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life in 2016.
His many guest star credits included Law & Order, Blue Bloods, The Black Donnellys, The Sopranos, Heroes, and The Blacklist; and he had roles in the Spike Lee films BlacKkKlansman and Summer of Sam.
Tarantina was born in New York City on March 27, 1959.