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Film

'Sopranos' star Frank Vincent dies, aged 78

Best known as New York mob boss Leotardo in "Sopranos," American actor Frank Vincent has passed away. He also starred as a gangster in a number of Martin Scorsese films.

Actor Frank Vincent's family issued a statement Wednesday saying that he had passed away. No cause of death was given. 

The news was shared by the US cable network HBO, which created the successful TV show "The Sopranos" (1999-2007), in which Frank Vincent played the role of the ruthless New York mob boss Phil Leotardo.

According to the celebrity news website TMZ, the actor died at home surrounded by his family after a heart surgery in New Jersey. He had suffered a heart attack a week before. 

Vincent's manager Melissa Prophet said in a statement that the actor had "lived life on his terms creating a dynamic and successful path in every endeavor he chose. His generosity and spirit extended eyond his family and closest friends ans he strived to promote new talent in the performing arts."

Born into an Italian family in North Adams, Massachusetts, in 1939 and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, Vincent pursued acting and music from a young age, making his feature film debut in Ralph DeVito's "Death Collector" in 1975.

Besides starring in "Sopranos," he is also known for his potrayals of gangster characters in Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull" (1980), "Goodfellas" (1990), and "Casino (1995)," among others. He also appeared in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" (1989).

HBO tweeted that Vincent was "an HBO legend" and that it will "never forget his legacy."

jt/kbm (dpa, AP, AFP)