Actor James Gandolfini, who rose to fame as mob boss Tony Soprano on the hit HBO drama “The Sopranos,” died Wednesday of a possible heart attack, the network has confirmed to NBC News. He was 51.
“We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family,” the network said in a statement. “He 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.”
The actor’s managers also released a statement. “It is with immense sorrow that we report our client James Gandolfini passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy,” it read. “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
Gandolfini had appeared in numerous films before landing the role of Soprano, but it was the panic attack-stricken mob boss who would forever define him. He won critical acclaim and three Emmy Awards and three Screen Actors Guild awards for the role, which he played from 1999-2007 on the groundbreaking show.
Our prayers go out to James’s family! He will be missed!