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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
121.

lilmBIGorgan    

This hurts. I cant believe its true.

461 days ago
122.

Lovey1119    

I just heard this is a hoax??

461 days ago
123.

tabitha28    

How sad, he was an amazing actor!!

461 days ago
124.

Gullible    

Ah damn, I am sorry to hear this. He seemed like a nice guy and a lot of laughs. Condolences to his loved ones.

461 days ago
125.

Dee    

so sorry to hear this. He was a good actor

461 days ago
126.

ilovetheshowmadmen    

fifty one is WAY too young... I loved him in the SOPRANOS, rest in peace, Tone....blessings to his family as well..

461 days ago
127.

Kelly    

Gives even more support to keeping your house clean so when they come and find you, the paramedics and police don't label you a hoarder somebody who didn't clean house.

461 days ago
128.

Arkidd    

Not dead!
http://en.mediamass.net/people/james-gandolfini/deathhoax.html

461 days ago
129.

DocG    

Well, that's too bad. He was an outstanding actor at the prime of his life.
I'm wondering, if he ever went to a doctor regularly?
Heart Disease, America’s #1 Killer.
Thanks, for the fabulous memories, James.
Sympathy, to his family & friends.

461 days ago
130.

InformedCAGuy    

I bet Kathryn Bigelow is balancing her account to see if James cashed his "Zero Dark Thirty" royalty check

461 days ago
131.

mike    

one of the best actors of all time such a shame. i have dying to see a sopranos movie guess that will never happen. if your a fan of his acting watch the juror. It is the one movie most people do not know he was in and his acting is perfect in that movie

461 days ago
132.

rommel    

Too young. R.I.P

461 days ago
133.

AtlantaDude    

RIP! His scenes with Nancy Marchand (Livia) on the Sopranos will always live in great show history!

461 days ago
134.

InkedUpGirl    

the other day I had a convo with someone and we were saying how we are at that age where it is possible to start loosing some great actors due to their age, etc...
he was such a great actor and I always looked forward to anything he would be in. this sucks.

461 days ago
135.

YouDontSay    

R.I.P. My heart goes out to his wife, daughter and son.

461 days ago
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