**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.