"Sopranos" star James Gandolfini passed away yesterday while traveling in Italy, reportedly of a heart attack. He was 51 years old. As if that wasn't heartbreaking enough, his traveling companion ought to do the trick: his 12-year-old son.
"I am heartbroken. My bud James Gandolfini just died," Gandolfini's friend and costar Gilles Marini wrote on his Facebook page. "Last Saturday he told me at our kids graduation ghat (sic) he was so happy to go with his son to Italy. A boy trip! It was an honor to have met this man, such a great Dad! I spent so much time with James son teaching him soccer."
Gandolfini is survived by 12-year-old Michael, his son from a previous marriage, as well as his wife Deborah Lin and their nine-month-old daughter Liliana, according to the Daily Mail. [embedgallery id=172167]
Gandolfini was in Italy to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily.
He first garnered fame playing a hitman in 1993′s “True Romance.” But it was his role as the brash, troubled mob boss Tony Soprano that earned him legions of fans of the six-season HBO series.
Gandolfini was apparently nervous about working on his "Sopranos" boss David Chase's first feature film.
“When we talked about him doing the role he cautioned me,” the director says. “He said ‘don’t you think this might be a little bit too soon?’ I said, ‘yeah, there’s that potential I guess,’ but he was the best guy for the role and we both wanted to work together again.”