By Piya Sinha-Roy and Antonio Denti
LOS ANGELES/ROME (Reuters) - Doctors in Italy battled for 40 minutes to save the life of James Gandolfini, the burly actor best known for his Emmy-winning role as a mob boss in the TV series "The Sopranos," before pronouncing him dead on Wednesday at age 51.
Gandolfini, whose performance as Tony Soprano made him a household name and ushered in a new era of American television drama, was vacationing in Rome and had been scheduled to attend the closing of the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily on Saturday.
He was taken from his Rome hotel to the city's Umberto I hospital late on Wednesday, according to a hospital spokesperson.
"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.
"The patient was considered dead on arrival, and for that reason an autopsy has been requested to be carried out by a pathologist, as is normal procedure in our country."
The autopsy has been scheduled for Friday morning.