20 Jun – Three-time Emmy Award winner James Gandolfini has just passed away from what seems to be a heart attack while he was on his vacation in Rome, Italy, just yesterday.
According to CNN, the actor, who was only 51, was on his way to the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily to participate in an onstage conversation with Italian director Gabriele Muccino when he died. Early reports suggest the cause of death was sudden, either an acute myocardial infarction or a stroke.
Gandolfini first got his start in acting on Broadway in the 1992 revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire" with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin. He later made his big screen debut in the late Tony Scott's "True Romance" in 1993.
His breakthrough role was Tony Soprano, an anxiety-ridden mob boss on HBO's "The Sopranos", which aired from 1999 to 2007. The television series became so critically acclaimed that in 2013, the Writers Guild of America named it the best-written series in television history.
Gandolfini's other acting credits include roles in The Last Castle", "The Mexican", "Surviving Christmas", "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3", "Killing Them Softly" and the Oscar-nominated "Zero Dark Thirty".
Many stars have voiced their condolences and regret on the loss of Gandolfini such as Olivia Wilde and "The Sopranos" creator David Chase:
"James Gandolfini was a kind, funny, wonderful guy. I'm so lucky to have worked with him. Sending love to his family. Such a sad, sad day," said Olivia Wilde, who starred with the actor in "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone".
"He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that," said David Chase.
He added, "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."
He is survived by his wife Deborah and their 9-month-old daughter, Liliana, as well as a son, Michael, from another marriage.