James Gandolfini, best known for his role as an anxiety-ridden mob boss on HBO’s “The Sopranos,” died after suffering a possible heart attack in Italy, an HBO spokeswoman and the actor’s managers said Wednesday. He was 51.
Gandolfini was on holiday in Rome, said Mara Mikialian, HBO’s vice president for program publicity.
The actor was expected to make an appearance at the Taormina Film Fest in Sicily this week, according to the festival.
Notoriously press shy, Gandolfini found fame late in his career with the television role of Tony Soprano.
He won three Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the angst-ridden mob boss who visited a therapist and took Prozac while knocking off people in “The Sopranos,” which aired from 1999 to 2007.
In recent years, he had starred in several movies, including the Oscar-nominated “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3″ and “Killing Them Softly.”
Gandolfini is survived by his wife, Deborah, and their daughter. He is also survived by a son from another marriage.
Social media lit-up with condolences for the actor.
Amazing outpouring of tributes to James Gandolfini – reflective of the huge impact he had as Tony Soprano, one of TV's greatest characters.—
Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 20, 2013
Chili Palmer: You any good? Bear: Am I any good?
You were DAMN good Mr. Gandolfini and will be sorely missed. R.I.P.—
John Stamos (@JohnStamos) June 20, 2013
RIP James Gandolfini, one of the nicest guys I've ever met—
John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) June 20, 2013
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.—
Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) June 20, 2013
Sweet journey home, James Gandolfini…
The brightest stars burn the fastest….—
Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) June 20, 2013
James Gandolfini. Unbelievably sad news. A fine man.—
Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) June 20, 2013
I take a nap and when I wake up James Gandolfini is dead??? Wtf, world?!—
Jess (@JessOfRVA) June 20, 2013