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James Gandolfini's sudden death shocks his friends

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Emmy Award-winning actor James Gandolfini, who was best known for his role as Tony Soprano on the HBO drama, The Sopranos, died in Rome on Wednesday. He was 51. The cause for his sudden death is yet to be announced, but an HBO representative says that Mr Gandolfini may have had a heart attack.

When breathed his last, James Gandolfini was travelling in Rome, Italy where he was on a family holiday. He was scheduled to attend the Taormina Film Festival. The sudden demise of the actor has shocked many stars his friends and colleagues in Hollywood. Immediately after hearing the news about his death, many celebrities took to their Twitter pages to share their shock and offer condolences to his family.

James Gandolfini hogged the limelight with his performance in The Sopranos in which he appeared as a troubled crime boss, who is struggling to balance his family life and career in the Mafia. He garnered enormous praise and awards for this role in this HBO drama. He has also starred in True Romance, Get Shorty and Where the Wild Things Are. He has also produced a few documentaries on war and soldiers.

We bring you Hollywood stars' statements written on Twitter after hearing the death news. Continue to see them in slide show.

David Chase, Creator Of The Sopranos

He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, 'You don't get it. You're like Mozart' There would be silence at the other end of the phone. For Deborah and Michael and Liliana this is crushing. And it's bad for the rest of the world. He wasn't easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can't explain and never will be able to explain.

Actor James Urbaniak

I met Gandolfini once after he saw me in a play and his describing a gesture I did on stage is one of my most cherished compliments ever.

Actress Olivia Wilde

James Gandolfini was a kind, funny, wonderful guy. I'm so lucky to have worked with him. Sending love to his family. Such a sad, sad day.

Broadway Director Matthew Warchus

He was just so good at the emotion. A very passionate man and a very, very tender man... I really loved him and admired him a great deal.

Former HBO President Chris Albrecht

Jimmy was the spiritual core of our Sopranos family, and I am stunned at this devastating loss. He was a great talent, but an even better man. My thoughts are with his family.

Actor Denis O'Hare

So sad to hear about James Gandolfini -- a lovely man I had the pleasure of working with once. So funny. So humble. So talented.

Actress Melissa Gilbert

I did a play with James Gandolfini 24 years ago in a basement under a bar in the west village. I'm pretty sure it was one of his very first acting jobs. The year I was first elected SAG prez he threw me in the air at the awards party.

Actress Tracey Fairaway

Found out my fellow cast mate James Gandolfini has died of a heart attack,, we just shot Nicole Holofcener's new film,, I can't believe it #rip James Gandolfini u were a pleasure to know & such a kind, loving, fun guy u will be forever missed. xxox we love u always.

Actor Riz Ahmed

Oh my god..RIP James Gandolfini. A generous, striving artist and man in his prime. A loss to our shared culture. Was set to work with him next year, feel privileged to have shared a little time with him on set. He laid on treats and shared his success with all he worked with. There would be a sushi chef when he was on set, he would pay for to treat people. He would hold out his contract til other people's were improved. He was a man of the people, a working class hero, and a gentleman. Tony Soprano is the best screen performance of all time, no one else has sustained and shouldered such complexity for so long. Feel utterly shocked and saddened.

Actor Joseph Gannascoli

Jimmy and I were not the closest of friends, but I am forever indebted to him. He came with his son and spoke at my wedding, came to my restaurant to meet fans sick as a dog in the rain and stayed for hours. He also said he would go in and talk to David Chase with me if I didn't want to play my role on the show. Just a humble and gifted actor and person.

Actor Steve Schirripa

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.

Actor-Musician Steven Van Zandt

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.

Actress Maureen VanZandt

I loved James so much. He was a beautiful man and a genius. I was honored to breather the same air as him. I'll love and remember him forever.

Lindsay Lohan, John Cusack, Dana Carvey

Lindsay Lohan: James Gandolfini was a dear friend and a great man. My heart goes out to his family. He will be greatly missed.
Actor John Cusack: RIP James Gandolfini -- had the pleasure of working with him and knowing him a bit -- always a truth teller- gent and all around class act.
Actor and comedian Dana Carvey:
In a thousand thousand years, humans will watch and be moved by James Gandolfini.

Chris Carley, Co-Owner Of Holsten

He was such a nice guy when he was here. You know, down to earth and really friendly with all the help that was here, and you know, all the people outside waiting to see him. Just all around nice guy.

Read more about: james gandolfini, the sopranos
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