"James Gandolfini, 51, the Emmy Award-winning actor who shot to fame on the HBO drama ‘The Sopranos’ as Tony Soprano, a tough-talking, hard-living crime boss with a stolid exterior but a rich interior life," died today, Wednesday, June 19, 2013, reports The New York Times.
The story continues, "Mr. Gandolfini’s death was confirmed by HBO. He was traveling in Rome, where he was on vacation and was scheduled to attend the Taormina Film Festival. A cause of death was not immediately announced; a press representative for HBO said that Mr. Gandolfini may have died from a heart attack, though other news reports said he died from a stroke."
The obituary adds, "The success of ‘The Sopranos’ helped make HBO a dominant player in the competitive field of scripted television programming, and transformed Mr. Gandolfini from a character actor into a star. The series, created by David Chase, won two Emmy Awards for outstanding drama series, and Mr. Gandolfini won three Emmys for outstanding lead actor in a drama, having been nominated six times for the award.
"HBO said of Mr. Gandolfini in a statement on Wednesday, ‘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.’ "
USA Today posted tweets about Gandolfini from various public figures as news of the actor’s death spread. Here are a few:
U.S. Sen. John McCain: "RIP James Gandolfini, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met"
Olivia Wilde: "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."
Ricky Gervais: "Damn. RIP James Gandofini. An amazing actor that made arguably the greatest drama of all time, & a funny, sweet, gentle giant off screen."
Russell Simmons: "Not tony soprano! Damn. Such a good guy and a great actor. James, rest in peace…"
Kristin Chenoweth: "NO. Not James Gandolfini. He was in my top 5 favorite actors EVER. "
Michael Chiklis: "James Gandolfini. This is a tremendous loss. A brilliant actor and a wonderful man. Our deepest sympathies to his family. Devastating."
Susan Sarandon: "So sad to lose James Gandolfini. One of the sweetest, funniest, most generous actors I’ve ever worked with. Sending prayers to his family."
Bette Midler: "The great James Gandolfini passed away today. Only 51. I can’t believe it."