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James Gandolfini Dies Aged 51
Laurie Tuffrey , June 20th, 2013 04:57

American actor famed for his role as mafia boss Tony Soprano

James Gandolfini, the celebrated American actor most well known for playing Tony Soprano, the lead character in The Sopranos, has died aged 51.

He passed away after a suspected heart attack while on holiday in Rome, having been due to attend the Taormina Film Fest in Sicily this weekend. He is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, their daughter and his son from his previous marriage.

Born in New Jersey, he began acting after attending a class with a friend in New York City. He came to light after a role in True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino, in 1993, before starting an eight-year run in The Sopranos in his home state in 1999, which scored him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

He went on to appear in a huge number of films, including The Man Who Wasn't There, In The Loop and Zero Dark Thirty, as well as producing documentaries about Iraq War veterans and post-traumatic stress disorder for HBO.

Paying tribute to the actor, The Sopranos' creator David Chase said: "He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. He was my partner. [...] He was my brother in ways I can't explain and never will be able to explain."

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