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James Gandolfini dead at 51, of possible heart attack

James Gandolfini on the red carpet.

James Gandolfini on the red carpet.

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.

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