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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

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1.

T Gordon    

WOW! Was he waked?

308 days ago
2.

@iAMTIMWILSON    

WTH! Did somebody 'wack' Tony Soprano?

308 days ago
3.

jojotato68    

That is beyond sad :(

308 days ago
4.

ts    

That's horrible news. RIP James.

308 days ago
5.

Toilethead    

That totally sucks.

308 days ago
6.

msteve    

Oh wow, this was unexpected. Hopefully his family will have privacy and be able to heal during this tragic time. The positive is he was able to live the life he wanted and followed his dreams. He is leaving behind a legacy for generations to see and be apart of. R.I.P I saw him once and he was nothing but gracious and a nice person.

308 days ago
7.

JJ    

Noooooooooo!!! I hope this isn't true! Horrible!!!

308 days ago
8.

Reyna38    

Oh god... Oh no... He will be missed dearly... Wonderful actor wonderful human being..... Rip.....

308 days ago
9.

DianaR    

Oh no.. I love tony soprano!

308 days ago
10.

anon.    

Shocked. RIP

308 days ago
11.

Jenna5960    

That's a shame. It's also a shame that people on this page can't spell whacked correctly.

308 days ago
12.

krys    

RIP

308 days ago
13.

Hollywood    

I feel for the kids and wife! How tragic.

308 days ago
14.

shellinclark    

How sad. Prayers for his wife and child.

308 days ago
15.

haskel420    

fake

308 days ago
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

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