Emmy Award-winning actor James Gandolfini, reportedly looked at the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead hours before he died from a massive heart attack.

The 51-year-old actor who was on vacation with his son Michael, visited the Egyptian gallery at the Vatican Museum in Rome.

The Book of the Dead, is a collection of magical spells that the Egyptians used, to help them get into the afterlife. They imagined the afterlife as a kind of journey you had to make to get to paradise, but it was quite a hazardous journey so you would need magical help along the way.

A newly wedded couple, John McGlaughlin and Priscilla McGlaughlin, from Philadelphia who were on their honeymoon spotted Gandolfini and his son Michael at the museum.

"It's eerie because she (Priscilla) took the picture through a glass case and on either side of him he's flanked by coffin lids with hieroglyphics from the Book of the Dead," John told the New York Daily News, "We didn't think anything of it at the time. Then we got back from our honeymoon and found out he was dead."

"It was hot as hell that day and really humid, and he was wearing jeans and a shirt," he added, "I had shorts on and I was miserable."

Gandolfini, who shot to fame on HBO mafia drama The Sopranos, was scheduled to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily. The actor had been working on upcoming HBO series Criminal Justice and had two films due out next year - the comedy Enough Said and crime drama Animal Rescue.

He is survived by his second wife, former model Deborah Lin, and two children - Michael, from his first marriage to Marcy Wudarsk, and nine-month-old daughter Liliana Ruth.