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James Gandolfini

DIES IN ITALY

6/19/2013 6:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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James Gandolfini -- who famously played Tony Soprano on "The Sopranos" -- died earlier today in Italy ... TMZ has learned.

Gandolfini is believed to have suffered a heart attack. He was 51.

Gandolfini was in Italy to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily -- and he was scheduled to participate in a festival event this weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.

Gandolfini shot to fame playing a hitman in the 1993 hit "True Romance" ... and quickly became a Hollywood legend when he was cast as Tony Soprano in 1999.  He won 3 Emmy awards for the role during the show's 6 season run.

'Sopranos' creator David Chase tells TMZ ... "[James] was a genius. 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."

Chase added, "He was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can't explain and never will be able to explain.”

Gandolfini also appeared in a ton of huge movies including "Get Shorty," "The Mexican" and "Zero Dark Thirty."

We last spoke to Gandolfini in May in L.A. -- he was in great spirits, making funny faces and joking about a "Sopranos" movie.

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His 'Sopranos' co-star Joseph R. Gannascoli -- who played Vito -- tells us, "James is one guy who never turned his back on me. He was the most humble and gifted actor and person I have ever worked with ... and I will forever be indebted to him."

Gandolfini is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, who gave birth to the couple's daughter in October 2012. He also has a teenage son from a previous marriage. R.I.P.

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543 COMMENTS

No Avatar
76.

RachesRules    

I feel like I just lost my dad again:(

400 days ago
77.

Carolyn    

Such sad news .... He leaves us with fond memories of being the leading man in the classic 'Sopranos'. Too young to die ... and he and his wife recently had a baby girl - so sad. RIP Tony and thanks for the great memories xx

400 days ago
78.

Craig    

He made me believe he was a real gangster. Great actor. Sad news. He will be missed.

400 days ago
79.

JiLL1    

Shocking & sad news Being overweight is very dangerous. Such a loss

400 days ago
80.

Sugah Baby    

51? WTF? Sorry to hear, never watched the show, but DAMN, he looks to be at least 65....

400 days ago
81.

Blonde Ambition    

This sucks WAY TOO HARD.

My Dad (may he also RIP) loved the Sopranos - I even still have the cookbook.

400 days ago
82.

Nikki    

Play mob boss. Died in Italy. Ironic as ****.

400 days ago
83.

missnyfl    

I just can't believe this. To his loved ones, i am so sorry.

400 days ago
84.

djgraf89     

Omg nooo

400 days ago
85.

AlwaysOnTimeB    

He was a fantastic actor. RIP!!!

400 days ago
86.

CleverBucktooth    

I definitely did NOT see that one coming. That really sucks.

400 days ago
87.

val    

http://en.mediamass.net/people/james-gandolfini/deathhoax.html


Smh....another cruel HOAX

400 days ago
88.

Marilyn    

It was the greatest show.
I remember one episode the mob guys were in someone's office and one of them sat down on a chair that broke + he fell down + they all cracked up laughing and I was so into the show + with them in spirit, I found myself laughing along with the joke with them! I was so there with those New Jersey mobsters!

400 days ago
89.

slicked25    

As a sopranos fan I'm shocked. One of the few actors I respected. RIP T.

400 days ago
90.

Htownpostman    

http://en.mediamass.net/people/james-gandolfini/deathhoax.html

400 days ago
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