Robert De Niro Reportedly Pays Tribute to 'Godfather Part II' Co-Star Danny Aiello after His Death at 86

Robert De Niro reportedly paid tribute to his friend and co-star, Danny Aiello, who died last Thursday at the age of 86. 

Robert De Niro, 76, and the late Danny Aiello co-starred in four movies, including "Bang the Drum Slowly," which was Danny's breakthrough film, "The Godfather II," "Once Upon a time in America," and "Mistress." 

Actor Danny Aiello attends the 42nd annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at The New York Marriott Marquis on June 16, 2011 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Actor Danny Aiello attends the 42nd annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at The New York Marriott Marquis on June 16, 2011 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Following Danny's death on Thursday night, a distraught De Niro honored the memory of his late co-star with a glowing tribute. In a statement that was obtained by PEOPLE, Robert De Niro said:

"I am very saddened to hear of Danny's passing. I have known him for almost 50 years. I am sad. See you in heaven, Danny."

Robert De Niro at "The Irishman" Press Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on October 25, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: Getty Images

Robert De Niro at "The Irishman" Press Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on October 25, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: Getty Images

Danny Aiello, before his death, received treatment for a sudden illness and then suffered an infection that was linked to his treatment. He was treated in a medical facility in New Jersey. 

The late actor's family had announced his death via a statement they made to PEOPLE. They said:

"It is with profound sorrow to report that Danny Aiello, beloved husband, father, grandfather, actor and musician passed away last night after a brief illness."

Danny Aiello attends 60th Anniversary New York Emmy Awards Gala at Marriott Marquis Times Square on May 6, 2017 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Danny Aiello attends 60th Anniversary New York Emmy Awards Gala at Marriott Marquis Times Square on May 6, 2017 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

The family also asked for privacy at this time, adding that arrangements for the service would be announced later. Danny Aiello was born on June 20, 1993, in New York.

He was a renowned actor, also known for his roles in movies such as "Do the Right Thing," "Moonstruck," and "Leon: The Professional." 

 Danny Aiello attends a screening for "Home for the Holidays" at Chakra on November 26, 2008 in Paramus, New Jersey | Photo: Getty Images

Danny Aiello attends a screening for "Home for the Holidays" at Chakra on November 26, 2008 in Paramus, New Jersey | Photo: Getty Images

His role in "Do the Right Thing" earned Danny an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting actor. He had played the character of Salvatore "Sal" Fragione, a pizzeria owner in Brooklyn.

Danny lost his son, Danny Aiello III, in 2010, after he died of cancer. He is survived by his wife, Sandy Cohen, 64, and three children. The late actor married his wife in 1955. 

Actor Danny Aiello attends The Cinema Society & Sony Alpha Nex screening of "Get Low" at the Tribeca Grand Hotel on July 21, 2010 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Actor Danny Aiello attends The Cinema Society & Sony Alpha Nex screening of "Get Low" at the Tribeca Grand Hotel on July 21, 2010 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

One of the few surprising facts about the late Danny is that he was a real-life criminal before he ventured into acting.

Danny Aiello made that revelation to Staten Island Advance in 2014, saying that he was actively running number games for a local mafia, and also robbing cigarette vendors. 

May Danny Aiello's soul rest in peace. 

Related posts
Getty Images
TV Shows Sep 07, 2019
Inside the Life of Danny Bonaduce after ‘The Partridge Family’
Getty Images
Relationship Sep 23, 2019
Inside 'Dumbo' Star Danny DeVito's Relationship with 'Poms' Actress Rhea Perlman after Separation
Getty Images
TV Shows Sep 29, 2019
Marlo Thomas' Father Danny Thomas Gave Her Life Lessons Involving Self-Love and Work Ethics
flickr
Stories Dec 13, 2019
Al Pacino and 'The Godfather' Stars 47 Years after the First Movie Was Released