**UPDATE** ROME (Reuters) - The body of actor James Gandolfini, who died of a heart attack in Rome last week, was flown out of Italy on Sunday on a flight bound for New York, Rome airport authorities said. The actor's body left Rome's Fiumicino airport at around 1600 GMT (1200 ET) on a private flight, an airport official said. Family friend Michael Kobold, speaking to reporters in Rome, thanked the Italian authorities and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for helping to accelerate procedures.

Word just in...Actor James Gandolfini died today in Italy from a massive heart attack. The star of The Sopranos was in Italy was in to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily -- and he was scheduled to participate in a festival event this weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.

I fell in  love with big Tony from the very first episode of the Sopranos.  This news came as such a shock just now...so sad...

James Gandolfini (center) is best known for his role as Tony in HBO's 'The Sopranos,' acting alongside Tony Sirico (from left), Steven Van Zandt, Michael Imperioli and Vincent Pastore.

Gandolfini is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, who gave birth to the couple's daughter in October 2012. He also has a teenage son from a previous marriage. R.I.P. Gandolfini shot to fame playing a hitman in the 1993 hit "True Romance" ... and quickly became a Hollywood legend when he was cast as Tony Soprano in 1999. He won 3 Emmy awards for the role during the show's 6 season run.

Gandolfini also appeared in a ton of huge movies including "Get Shorty," "The Mexican" and "Zero Dark Thirty." Read more:

R.I.P James Gandolfini we will miss you...

Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano): "I am shocked and devastated by Jim's passing. He was a man of tremendous depth and sensitivity, with a kindness and generosity beyond words. I consider myself very lucky to have spent 10 years as his close colleague. My heart goes out to his family." Falco continues saying she will "hold on to the memories of our intense and beautiful time together. The love between Tony and Carmela was one of the greatest I've ever known."

Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Jennifer Melfi): "We lost a giant today. I am utterly heartbroken."

Tony Sirico (Paulie Gualtieri): "He was one of my best friends in life. He helped me with my career and I'm going to miss him. He's part of my family."

Steven Schirripa (Bobby Baccalieri): "Jimmy was a dear friend and like a brother to me. He was a great actor and a great father. I will miss him terribly. I am very sad."

Joseph R. Gannascoli (Vito Spatafore): "I will be forever indebted to Jimmy."

Since the shocking and devastating news of his death broke, celebrities have taken to Twitter to share their memories and sorrow. Below are some of the most notable reactions so far. We'll continue to update as more come in.


  1. If you watch ANY drama/comedy/series on cable TV, it was made possible by the undeniable massive force of this man's talent. Although not the first, "The Sopranos" was the series that put cable-produced shows on the map, and television has never the same. Many big talents were a part of that show, but Tony Soprano became an archetype that has been replicated in so many shows (and films) to follow. R.I.P. Brother.

  2. Richard Manitoba6/19/2013 9:29 PM



    An American treasure
    Rest In Peace..Way way too young...

  3. Guido Colacci6/19/2013 9:30 PM

    I never saw this coming...I feel like I was sucker punched...Rest In Peace James, Gandolfini - September 18, 1961 - June 19, 2013 ♥

  4. Steve Schirripa6/19/2013 10:59 PM

    Jimmy was a dear friend and like a brother to me. He was a great actor and a great father. I will miss him terribly. I am very sad.

  5. Stevie Van Zandt6/19/2013 11:02 PM

    "I have lost a brother and a best friend. The world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time. Maureen and I send our deepest sympathy and love to Deborah, Michael, Lily, and all of Jimmy's family."

  6. Heather Harris6/19/2013 11:33 PM

    R.I.P. James Gandolfini. My fave of his roles remains the portrayal of producer/director Craig Gilbert in "Cinema Verite,`" termed by the Wall Street Journal "...the real gift beyond price here." First his character reveled in the creative/competitive/pushy streak essential for any commercial artist, particularly a ground-breaking one (documentarian Gilbert invented reality tv with PBS' 1973 series "An American Family" with the Loud clan.) Then Gandolfini drifts into the eventual angst for that role in a sea-change in pop culture that proved as destructive for its subjects as it was informative. You believed this was the man who, haunted like Oppenheimer over the terrible power he'd unleashed, did not work in the business again.


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