From New Jersey To Hollywood, James Gandolfini Remembered - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

From NJ To Hollywood, James Gandolfini Remembered

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PHILADELPHIA -

The death of James Gandolfini came as a huge shock to everyone, from New Jersey to Hollywood, and lovers of "The Sopranos" worldwide.

The Emmy-winning star reportedly suffered a heart attack while on vacation in Italy.

He 51-year-old was there for an upcoming film festival this weekend where he was to be honored when he was stricken in his hotel room and rushed to a hospital.

His body has been transferred to a hospital morgue in Rome, where an autopsy will be performed.

A hospital spokesman says by law medical examiners in Italy are required to carry out an autopsy 24 hours after the body's arrival in the morgue.

RELATED STORY: Dr. Mike Talks Heart Attacks

He is obviously best known for his role as "Tony Soprano," but he was a very talented and dedicated actor. He started on Broadway, getting his first break after appearing in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

He appeared in a number of films, but no question his role in the hit HBO series "The Sopranos" made him one of the most beloved actors of all time.

The role earned him three Emmys and a Golden Globe and made "Tony Soprano" a household name.

While the character was a larger-than-life figure, Gandolfini was exceptionally modest and obsessive, describing himself as "a 260-pound Woody Allen."

He certainly was loved.

The creator of "The Sopranos,"David Chase, released this statement: "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. ... He was my brother in ways I can't explain and never will be able to explain."

At the time of his death, Gandolfini was working on a return to television and reuniting with HBO in an upcoming series titled "Criminal Justice."

Gandolfini leaves behind two children, a 13-year-old son from a previous marriage, and a little daughter who was just born last year by his wife Deborah Lin, who he married back in 2008.

Some of the jobs he held along the way were a truck driver, a bouncer and a night club manager. That's before going to acting class and getting hooked.

Celebrities are sharing their condolences.

Steven van Zandt, who played "Silvio Dante" on "The Sopranos," tweeted, "I have lost a brother and a best friend. The world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time."

His "Sopranos" co-star, Lorraine Bracco, was stunned by the news, saying "We lost a giant today. I am utterly heartbroken."

Jeff Daniels, his co-star in the Broadway play "God of Carnage," wrote, "RIP James Gandolfini. A great friend."

And actress Olivia Wilde,  who co-starred with Gandolfini in the recent movie "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," wrote, "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."

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