Actor James Gandolfini has died in Italy at the age of 51. He was best known for his role as mob boss Tony Soprano in the HBO hit series, the Sopranos.
Gandolfini died on Wednesday of a possible heart attack, while in Italy to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival, HBO confirmed to the news agency Reuters.
"Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him dearly," said Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders, Gandolfini's managers. "He and his family were part of our family for many years and we are all grieving."
A native of New Jersey, Gandolfini was born in 1961 to a strict Catholic, Italian-American family. He worked various jobs - as a bouncer, bartender and nightclub manager - before going into acting.
After performing in several Broadway Shows, he scored his first success on the big screen as a mob-enforcer in the 1993 thriller "True Romance." Gandolfini went on to perform in a broad range of films, from crime movies like "Get Shorty" to the children's classic "Where the Wild Things Are."
But he was best known for his role as mob boss Tony Soprano in HBO's the Sopranos, which ran from 1999-2007. He won three best actor Emmys for his role in the show.
He is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, their baby daughter Liliana, and his son Michael from his ex-wife, Marcy Wudarski.
slk/jm (AP, dpa, Reuters)