James Gandolfini Has Died at Age 51

James Gandolfini, best known for being fucking brilliant as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, has passed away in Italy at age 51. It is believed he suffered a heart attack.

According to the Taormina Film Festival, he was on his way to the festival where he was expected Thursday. He had been expected to participate in an onstage conversation with Italian director Gabriele Muccino on Saturday at the Sicilian festival.

Gandolfini’s imposing screen presence was the driving force in establishing “The Sopranos” as the most influential TV show of the past generation. The actor was praised for his deft balance of the character’s violence and vulnerability, making the murderous mob boss a sympathetic figure that set the mold for the flawed anti-heroes that populate cable dramas today.

“Jimmy was the spiritual core of our ‘Sopranos’ family, and I am stunned at this devastating loss. He was a great talent, but an even better man,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, who greenlighted “Sopranos” in his previous role running HBO.

What a big presence to be suddenly gone from the world. I'm sure lengthy tributes will be pouring in over the next few days, but for now I'll just say that I was a fan and I'll miss him. Condolences to friends and family.

James Gandolfini Dead at 51 [Variety]

Images via Getty.