‘Sopranos’ Star James Gandolfini Dies of Cardiac Arrest

“It’s good to be in something from the ground floor. I came too late for that and I know. But lately, I’m getting the feeling that I came in at the end. The best is over” – Tony Soprano

Hospital officials in Rome say “Sopranos” actor James Gandolfini died of a heart attack.

Dr. Claudio Modini, head of the emergency room at the Policlinic Umberto I hospital, said Gandolfini arrived at the hospital at 10:20 p.m. Wednesday and was pronounced dead at 11 p.m. after reanimation efforts in the ambulance and hospital failed.

Doctors say an autopsy be performed, as required by law.

Gandolfini’s portrayal of the brutal but emotionally delicate crime boss Tony Soprano was the center of one of TV’s greatest drama series and turned the mobster stereotype on its head. Sopranos’ creator David Chase calls Gandolfini “one of the greatest actors of this or any time,” adding that much of his genius “resided in those sad eyes.”

Gandolfini grew up in New Jersey, and the state’s governor calls the actor’s death “an awful shock.” Saying he was a “huge fan,” Gov. Chris Christie says Gandolfini was “a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy.”

Gandolfini won three Emmy Awards for his role as Tony Soprano and worked steadily in film and on stage after the series ended. He earned a 2009 Tony Award nomination for his role in “God of Carnage,” and his film roles included playing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in “Zero Dark Thirty.” (AP)

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