James Gandolfini, the burly actor best known for his Emmy-winning portrayal of a conflicted New Jersey mob boss in the acclaimed HBO cable television series The Sopranos has died while vacationing in Rome, Italy, the network said on Wednesday.
Gandolfini, 51, who began his career in live theater in New York, died of a possible heart attack, HBO spokeswoman Mara Mikialian told Reuters.
Since The Sopranos ended its run in 2007, Gandolfini has appeared in a number of big-screen roles, including the espionage thriller Zero Dark Thirty and the comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
At the time of his death, Gandolfini had been working on an upcoming new HBO series titled “Criminal Justice.”
HBO released the following statement on their Facebook page:
We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family. James Gandolfini was a 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.