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Sopranos Star James Gandolfini Dead of a Heart Attack at 51
James Gandolfini, an actor best known for portraying Tony Soprano in the hit crime-drama The Sopranos, was found dead yesterday while on vacation in Italy. Gandolfini was 51.
While traveling to Rome for a film festival, the actor suffered from a heart attack in his hotel room. He was found by his teenage son, Michael, who saw him on the ground and called for help. Gandolfini was still alive when the ambulance arrived, but was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
“The resuscitation maneuvers, including heart massage etc., continued for 40 minutes and then, seeing no electric activity from the heart, this was interrupted and we declared James dead,” Claudio Modini, the emergency room chief, told Reuters. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday, after which his body will be brought back to the United States for burial.
After his death, Gandolfini’s first wife, Marcy Wudarski, the mother of Michael, flew to Rome to be with her son, according to TMZ.
Gandolfini is survived by Michael, a one-year old daughter, Liliana, and his wife, Deborah Lin.
While Gandolfini’s family has not yet released a statement, HBO expressed their sadness, saying, “We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family. He was a 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. He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth, and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time.”
Gandolfini began his career as a stage actor, before he was cast as mob-boss and family man Tony Soprano, a role that earned him three Best Actor Emmys. He also had small but pivotal roles in a number of films, including “In the Loop,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Not Fade Away,” and “8 MM.” Prior to his death, he finished filming roles in three films, including “Violet and Daisy,” “Animal Rescue,” and an untitled project from director Nicole Holofcener.
Image Credit: GettySopranos Star James Gandolfini Dead of a Heart Attack at 51 by Andrew Ostler