Actor James Gandolfini, 51, has passed away in Italy, following a possible heart attack.
James had been vacationing in Rome and was due to attend the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily today. James leaves behind his wife, Deborah Lin, and their eight month old daughter Liliana. James was also dad to Michael, his son with ex-wife Marcy Wudarski. James and Deborah would’ve celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary later this summer.
James was probably most well known for his role as New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano on HBO’s hit series The Sopranos. James was scheduled to work with HBO again on the upcoming series “Criminal Justice” and had already filmed the first episode. HBO spoke out this evening on the tragic loss. ”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 humour, 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.”
The Sopranos creator David Chase shared, “He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. 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.”
Below is James on June 10th, attending the 8th Annual Stella by Starlight benefit gala with actress Elaine Stritch, who played his mother in Romance & Cigarettes.
Photos by Getty Images