By MAMAMIA TEAM
James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano in the hugely popular series The Sopranos, has died at the age of 51.
The cause of death is currently not confirmed, but most sources were reporting this morning that he died of a heart attack while in Italy attending the 59th Taormina Film Festival.
Gandolfini won three Emmys for playing lead role Tony Soprano in The Sopranos from 1999 – 2007. He could most recently be seen in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Zero Dark Thirty. He also had a recent successful stint on Broadway in the critically acclaimed play God of Carnage in 2009.
He had a very close working relationship with TV network HBO, which aired The Sopranos during its run. He also appeared in films Cinema Verite and Hemmingway and Gellhorn for the network, as well as producing two documentaries for them: Alive Day: Home from Iraq and Wartorn: 1861-2010, which explored the effects of PTSD on soldiers throughout history. HBO released this statement when confirming his death:
We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family. He was special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect. He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us.
Gandolfini is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, with whom he had a daughter, Liliana, in October 2012, and a teenage son, Michael, from his previous marriage.
David Chase, executive producer and showrunner on The Sopranos, has released the following statement:
He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that,” said Sopranos showrunner David Chase in a statement. “He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, ‘You don’t get it. You’re like Mozart.’ There would be silence at the other end of the phone. For Deborah and Michael and Liliana this is crushing. And it’s bad for the rest of the world. He wasn’t easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can’t explain and never will be able to explain.
Twitter tributes have also been flowing through:
Jesus. The world just lost one of its great actors. James Gandolfini has passed away. Thoughts to his family. Such a talent. I’m saddened.
— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) June 20, 2013