James Gandolfini has reportedly passed away after suffering a major heart attack in Italy, TMZ is reporting.
Gandolfini, who is best known for his his six season-run as Tony Soprano in HBO's hit series The Sopranos, along with roles in films like True Romance and In the Loop, was in Sicily to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival alongside Italian director Gabriele Muccino this weekend. According to sources, he died earlier today.
He is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, their 8-month-old daughter, and his teenage son from a previous marriage. Gandolfini was 51.
HBO has released the following statement:
We're all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family. He was special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect. He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us.
David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, has released the following statement:
He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. 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. For Deborah and Michael and Lilliana this is crushing. And it's bad for the rest of the world. He wasn't easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can't explain and never will be able to explain.
Edie Falco, who portrayed Gandolfini's on-screen wife in The Sopranos, released the following statement:
I am shocked and devastated by Jim’s passing. He was a man of tremendous depth and sensitivity, with a kindness and generosity beyond words. I consider myself very lucky to have spent 10 years as his close colleague. My heart goes out to his family. As those of us in his pretend one hold on to the memories of our intense and beautiful time together. The love between Tony and Carmela was one of the greatest I’ve ever known.