James Gandolfini has passed away at age 51.
Best known for his role as Tony Soprano on the Sopranos, Gandolfini portrayed the family patriarch from 1999 – 2007 on HBO. Soprano was a man who struggled to find a balance between his family life and position at the head of the Mafia, and Gandolfini’s performance earned him multiple Emmy and Screen Actors Guild awards.
Gandolfini continued to team up with HBO throughout his career, producing two documentaries about war veterans and appearing in the original film “Cinema Verite”. He was also set to star in the network’s upcoming Criminal Justice series. A tribute to his memory can be found on HBO’s website.
He was recently seen in the critically acclaimed “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Killing Them Softly”.
The talented actor is remembered not only for his work in film and television, but also his support for the Octoberwoman Foundation for Breast Cancer Research in his hometown of Park Ridge, New Jersey.
Sopranos creator David Chase, who recently directed Gandolfini in the feature film “Not Fade Away”, said in a 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.” Gandolfini’s former Sopranos co-star, Steven Van Zandt, echoed the same sentiment, posting that “the world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time.”
The suspected cause of death is a heart attack while the actor was on vacation in Italy. He is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, and his children, Liliana and Michael.