James Gandolfini dies on father-son bonding trip
The Sopranos legend has died at the age of 51 in Rome.
Legendary Sopranos actor James Gandolfini died on a father-son bonding trip with his son Michael in Italy.
The 51-year-old, who has three Emmys for his memorable role, was in Italy to attend the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily, but died late yesterday of a reported heart attack.
He is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, 14-year-old Michael and baby daughter
James had brought his son along for a "guy's trip" as the Michael had just graduated from eighth grade, the equivalent of second year in secondary school, before he intended to head out to Sicily for work.
His first wife Marcy Wudarski flew to Italy immediately when she heard of her former husband's passing in order to comfort her teenage son. According to TMZ, the father and son duo were incredibly close and bonded through their love of hockey - they were regularly pictured together cheering on the LA Kings.
Despite a wealth of classic movie hits under his belt, including The Mexican, True Romance, and Oscar-winning Zero Dark Thirty, he is beloved for his role as mafia boss Tony Soprano.
Meanwhile, his Sopranos colleagues have been left devastated at the loss of their friend. Show creator David Chase said: "[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."
"He was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can't explain and never will be able to explain.”
Co-star Joseph R. Gannascoli, who played Vito on the HBO show, said: "Fifty-one and leaves a kid - he was newly married. His son is fatherless now. It's way too young. 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."
He is beloved in Hollywood for his positive attitude and will be remembered for always being in high spirits.
HBO have also released a statement, calling Gandolfini a "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".
Gandolfini played Tony Soprano in the groundbreaking series that aired from 1999 to 2007, winning three Emmy awards and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the conflicted mob boss who was both brutal and emotionally delicate. Sopranos creator David Chase described Gandolfini as "a genius", saying: "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."