James Gandolfini Dead, 'Sopranos' Star Dies in Italy

James Gandolfini, the actor who famously portrayed Tony Soprano in the HBO series Sopranos, died on Tuesday after suffering a possible heart attack in Italy, CNN reported Wednesday.

Gandolfini was 51. He is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, a son and a baby daughter.

HBO confirmed the news late Wednesday to multiple media outlets, including Reuters and the Associated Press. According to the cable news channel, Gandolfini was on vacation in Rome at the time of his death.

"We're all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family," HBO says in a statement. "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," the statement continues. "Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us."

The Sopranos actor was in Italy to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily and was also scheduled to take part in a festival event this weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.

 Gandolfini rose to fame when he played Virgil the hitman in the 1993 Tony Scott film True Romance.

He is perhaps best known for his role as Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mobster, in The Sopranos, in which he was cast in 1999. He won three Emmy awards and six total nominations for the role during the show's six seasons. The hit HBO series aired its last episode in 2007.

He starred in a number of movies over the past few years, including as the CIA director in the action thriller Zero Dark Thirty.

Gandolfini's numerous film credits include Get Shorty, The Mexican, Killing Them Softly, The Taking of Pelham 123 and Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

He was also working on an upcoming CBS showTaxi 22 and another project, Criminal Justice, was in the works for HBO.

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