Deadline.com is reporting that James Gandolfini died suddenly in Italy after a suspected heart attack. He was 51.
I’ll post more info as I have it, but of course, Gandolfini is best known for his portrayal of mob boss Tony Soprano on the HBO series, “The Sopranos,” which ran from 1999 to 2007.
Great show. Great actor. What a shock to learn of his passing.
UPDATE | 8:13 p.m. ET
HBO has sent out a statement regarding the death of James Gandolfini, star of HBO’s “The Sopranos,” who died of a possible heart attack while on holiday in Rome. He was in Italy to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily, and was scheduled to participate in a festival event this weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.
“We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family,” HBO said in the statement. “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, the burly man with a booming voice, had recently filmed “Criminal Justice” for HBO, which had received a limited series order.
Gandolfini won three Emmys for playing Tony Soprano, a beleaguered mob boss with mom issues. The actor specialized in playing intimidating guys whose big frames concealed generous hearts — a character who, by all accounts, was as far as you can get from Gandolfini himself. He said once he compared himself more to Woody Allen than the characters he was known for playing.
As Tony Soprano, Gandolfini helped to usher in a new age of television, along with a charming character people sympathized with, despite his bad deeds.
“The Sopranos” is arguably one of the best shows to ever air on TV, one that opened the doors for other shows like HBO’s “The Wire” and AMC’s “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.”
One of his first roles was playing the sympathetic wiseguy in “True Romance,” written by Quentin Tarantino. He also showed his gentle side in “Where the Wild Things Are,” playing wild thing Carol as a depressed middle-aged malcontent, and recently played former CIA director Leon Panetta in “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Gandolfini’s managers Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders issued this statement: “It is with immense sorrow that we report our client James Gandolfini passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy. Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply. He and his family were part of our family for many years and we are all grieving.”
The Twittersphere immediately reacted to his death:
Rip James Gandolfini. One of the greatest actors of our generation.
James Gandolfini was a kind, funny, wonderful guy. I’m so lucky to have worked with him. Sending love to his family. Such a sad, sad day.
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.
James Gandolfini. What a great loss.
I am so deeply saddened by the untimely passing of sweet James Gandolfini! My heart is broken for his family!! I’m in shock
I’m truly heartbroken to hear that James Gandolfini has passed away. He is one of my all time favorite actors. Tragic loss.
So sad to hear about James Gandolfini. He was such an amazing actor and by all accounts a wonderful person. RIP.
I am heartbroken about James Gandolfini. He was a gentle giant and great man. I love this picture, I loved him.
Husband informed me that #JamesGandolfini just passed,In Italy.Im devastated My condolences 2 his family&friends.He passed in his motherland
Just heard James Gandolfini has died of a heart attack at the age of 51. So incredibly sad
Just heard about James Gandolfini… I am so sad to learn this news. Condolences to his family and friends. What a talent. : (
RIP James Gandolfini …. An amazing actor. Beyond shocked.
RIP James Gandolfini. Terrible news.
SO SAD! PRAYING FOR HIS FAMILY- wow- Shocked by this news today…
Golden Globes (James won three for his role in “The Sopranos”)
James Gandolfini has died in Italy. Rest in Peace to a wonderful man and actor. You’ll be missed.
You will be missed greatly James Gandolfini Maybe best actor ever on a tv series. Salute’
So so so sad about James Gandolfini – 51 is way too young.
So sad to hear about James Gandolfini. RIP
RIP James Gandolfini… He was one of my idols, an amazing artist, and his work will be soarly missed!
Shocked at reading about the untimely passing of James Gandolfini. A man of enormous talent. What shocking and sad news.
Just read about James Gandolfini.. Never met him but what a damn good actor. Gone way to soon. Rip brother.. #prayers
Thank you James Gandolfini for some of the most brilliant tv moments of all time. So sad!!!
James Gandolfini. You created an icon. And you cut to black way too abruptly. Thank you, and rest in peace.
so incredibly sad…. RIP James Gandolfini … your work inspired and entertained… so incredibly sad.
Not tony soprano! Damn. Such a good guy and a great actor. James, rest in peace.
Farewell to the great American actor James Gandolfini. I was a huge fan. My condolences to his family and his many fans.
RIP James Gandolfini! Your iconic portrayal of mob boss Tony Soprano gave soul to a monster and fostered perverse pride in the Garden State!
No… James Gandolfini one of my favorites. RIP. prayers to his family.
Oh man James gandolfini died. Fantastic in the soprano, and true romance. A great talent.
Wow RIP #JamesGandolfini !!!! My Favorite Show Of All Time The Sopranos , My Heart And Prayers Go Out To Your Loved Ones
R.I.P James Gandolfini. My prayers to his family and friends. He will certainly be missed by us who loved watching him
Saddened to hear that James Gandolfini has passed. He was as talented an actor as there ever was. I’ve met few people with as much presence.
So saddened to hear about the passing of one of my favorite actors, James Gandolfini. #RIPJamesGandolfini
So sad to hear about James Gandolfini. My thoughts & prayers are with his wife & kids.
Just heard TV icon James Gandolfini has died. I’m shocked. I’m sad. I loved his work. My heart goes out to his family.
Had the pleasure of seeing the funny, powerful, incredibly talented James Gandolfini on stage in “God of Carnage.” He’ll be truly missed.
RIP James Gandolfini. So sad!!
RIP James Gandolfini, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met
NO. Not James Gandolfini. He was in my top 5 favorite actors EVER. 🙁