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James Gandolfini of ‘The Sopranos’ Dies at 51!

James Gandolfini Sopranos Star DiesJames Gandolfini the actor who rose to fame for his role as the crime boss Tony Soprano on the “The Sopranos”, has died. James Gandolfini seems to have died of a possible heart attach in Italy. He was 51.

There were few immediate details surrounding his death at 51, although he was on vacation in Rome,  his managers said.

Gandolfini,  a New Jersey native, appeared in films and on the stage before his breakthrough part  in 1999 as Mafia boss Tony Soprano in the HBO series, which brought him three Emmys during its six-year run.

“We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family,” said a statement from HBO.  “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. “

His managers Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders said, “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.”

“Sopranos” producer and creator David Chase issued a statement Wednesday night saying, “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.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also paid tribute to Gandolfini, saying, “It’s an awful shock. James Gandolfini was a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy. I was a huge fan of his and the character he played so authentically, Tony Soprano. I have gotten to know Jimmy and many of the other actors in the Sopranos cast and I can say that each of them are an individual New Jersey treasure.”

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, said late Wednesday he was saddened to hear about the death of a “talented actor whose unforgettable performances made him a television icon.” He said Gandolfini was a proud New Jerseyan and a Rutgers University graduate.

Celebs continue to pour in the their condolences for James Gandolfini.

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