James Gandolfini died this afternoon in Italy. The Sopranos star died of a heart attack at the age of 51.
Chris Albrecht, who gave Sopranos the green light at HBO, said in an email to Deadline. “Absolutely stunned. I got the word from Lorraine Bracco and just got off with Brad Grey who had just heard from David Chase. We had all become a family. This is a tremendous loss.”
The 51-year-old actor started his acting career in the 1980s and became a household name in 1999 when he played Tony Soprano in the critically acclaimed drama The Sopranos.
The HBO show, which was recently named the best written show in television history, helped Gandolfini earn multiple awards including a Golden Globe, an AFI Award, and three Emmy Awards.
After The Sopranos, Gandolfini moved on to several other projects including Where The Wild Things Are, The Taking Of Phelam 1 2 3, and Zero Dark Thirty. At the time of his death, Gandolfini had three projects in production.
He is survived by his wife and two children.
After news of his death broke, several stars took to Twitter to remember The Sopranos actor.
UPDATE: Tonight’s show will now be dedicated to the late, great James Gandolfini, who has died at 51 of a suspected heart attack. CNN 9pmET.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 20, 2013
RIP James Gandolfini! Your iconic portrayal of mob boss Tony Soprano gave soul to a monster and fostered perverse pride in the Garden State!
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) June 19, 2013
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.
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) June 19, 2013
RIP James Gandolfini. A great friend.
— Jeff Daniels (@Jeff_Daniels) June 19, 2013
Farewell to the great American actor James Gandolfini. I was a huge fan. My condolences to his family and his many fans.
— Wes Craven (@wescraven) June 19, 2013
Arrivederci, James Gandolfini. You were one of the great greats. We’ll miss your dangerous, big heart. #RIPGandolfini
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) June 19, 2013
James Gandolfini. Unbelievably sad news. A fine man.
— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) June 20, 2013
Edited: The original title of this article incorrectly stated that he died from a Stroke. RIP James you will be missed.