Note: HBO released a statement regarding the tragic and untimely death of James Gandolfini. Their statement is provided at the end of this piece.
James Gandolfini is dead at 51 from a heart attack. Gandolfini, known for his gregarious demeanor, died in Italy on Wednesday, just before he was scheduled to appear at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily. Gandolfini, a New Jersey native, was most recently featured in the 2012 thriller, Zero Dark Thirty.
TMZ caught up with the James Gandolfini just weeks ago in Los Angeles where he chatted up the paparazzi and discussed a possible Sopranos movie before getting into his car. The actor showed no signs of ill-health and seemed to be in high spirits.
James leaves behind is wife, Deborah Lin, whom he married in 2008 in Hawaii and two children, a 1-year-old daughter and a teenage son from a previous marriage.
Celebrity condolences are pouring in from social media regarding James Gandolfini's untimely death. Actress Olivia Wilde tweeted, "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."
Steve Carell was understandably quiet, simply saying, "James Gandolfini. What a great loss."
It's unclear at this time what caused James Gandolfini's fatal heart attack. Our condolences go out to James Gandolfini's family and friends during this difficult time.
Update 8:42 p.m. EST: HBO, the network that hosted the Sopranos for all six seasons, has just released a statement.
"We're all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family," said HBO. "He was a 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."