NPR : News

James Gandolfini Dies; 'Sopranos' Actor Was 51

Actor James Gandolfini, 51, has died, HBO and other sources confirm. The former star of the HBO series The Sopranos was reportedly on holiday in Italy when he died. The cause of death is not yet known with certainty, but HBO says the actor may have suffered a heart attack. Other reports have indicated Gandolfini had a stroke.

Update at 8:15 p.m. ET: Confirmation From HBO:

Initial reports of Gandolfini's death were confirmed to NPR by HBO, which has released a statement:

"We're all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family. He was 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. He will be deeply missed by all of us."

In a statement, reports the Associated Press, Sopranos creator David Chase called Gandolfini a "genius."

"Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that," Chase said. "He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes."

Our original post continues:

Gandolfini won accolades and Emmy nominations for his portrayal of the gruff and complicated character of Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mobster who was the heart of The Sopranos. The critically acclaimed show aired its last episode in 2007.

"His first break came in 1992 when he landed a role in a Broadway version of 'A Streetcar Named Desire' that starred Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange," the New York Daily News reports. "Smallish parts in major films followed — Gandolfini played a submarine crew member in Crimson Tide in 1995 and a gangland bodyguard in Get Shorty the same year.

Accepting a Golden Globe award for his work in The Sopranos' first season in 1999, Gandolfini graciously thanked the show's writers, its cast, and its creator, David Chase, "for giving someone like me the opportunity to play a part like this."

He also joked, "I have to mention my Teamster driver now, Joey Fay."

More recently, the burly actor was in the action film Zero Dark Thirty. He was also working on an upcoming CBS show, Taxi 22. Another project, Criminal Justice, is in the works for HBO.

Gandolfini is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, and their daughter, as well as a son from his earlier marriage to Marcy Wudarski.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit


WATCH: Obama Reads 'Mean Tweets' — Including One From Trump

President Obama returned to ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday. He took 140-character admonishments for his dancing, his alleged condiment preferences and someone else's poor choice of conditioner.

Dental Detectives: What Fossil Teeth Reveal About Ancestral Human Diets

From the thickness of tooth enamel to the molecular signatures on a tooth left behind by foods eaten by a human, fossil teeth hold many clues to the diets of our ancestors.

Behind China's Anti-Graft Campaign, A Drive To Crush Rivals

China's Communist Party will aim to tighten party discipline at a key meeting this week. Part of this is an effort to target covert factions within the party that threaten to destabilize it.

The AT&T-Time Warner Merger: What Are The Pros And Cons For Consumers?

AT&T positions itself as the future competitor to cable, promising an era of experimentation and innovation. But consumer advocates raise a raft of concerns. Regulators will weigh both sides.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.