Robert De Niro is still feeling the pain of his late grandson Leandro De Niro Rodriguez's tragic death.
In a new interview published Wednesday, February 7, the famed actor, 80, admitted he was in "disbelief" when he heard the "awful" news that his eldest daughter Drena's only son had fatally overdosed at age 19 in July 2023.
"It's just a shock," Robert explained to a news publication. "[I] never thought it would happen."
"And I just then started thinking about all the things I could have, should have done maybe with him," he confessed of potential regret he faces as a grandfather. "I don't know if that would've made a difference. And so that's always playing through my mind."
The Killers of the Flower Moon star reiterated: "It shouldn’t have happened."
Less than two weeks after the teenager's death, which the New York City chief medical examiner's office later confirmed was caused by "toxic effects of fentanyl, bromazolam, alprazolam, 7-aminoclonazepam, ketamine and cocaine," New York resident Sophia Marks was arrested in connection to Leandro's passing.
"Marks sold a total of 50 suspected counterfeit oxycodone pills to an undercover police officer. On July 13, following Marks' second sale to the undercover officer, she was arrested and found to be in possession of approximately 156 more suspected counterfeit oxycodone pills and approximately $1,500 in cash," a criminal complaint obtained by a news outlet revealed at the time.
The 21-year-old was charged with one count of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl and alprazolam and two counts of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl.
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All three charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, per the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
At the time, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams revealed in a statement that Sophia was selling "fake oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl."
"At least one of Marks’s counterfeit pills was purchased and taken by a teenager who subsequently died of a suspected overdose. The arrest was critical because, as we allege, Marks knew the pills could kill, and she continued selling them anyway," he continued regarding the deadly sale between Sophia and Leandro.
Prior to her arrest, Sophia had been known as the "Percocet Princess," as OK! previously reported.
After learning of her only child's overdose, Drena took to social media to express her outrage toward Sophia's actions.
"Someone sold him fentanyl-laced pills that they knew were laced yet still sold them to him," she emotionally expressed last year. "So for all these people still f------ around selling and buying this s---, my son is gone forever."