Sopranos star James Gandolfini dies at 51

Thursday 20 June 2013 20.58
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James Gandolfini (centre) made his name as crime boss Tony Soprano
James Gandolfini (centre) made his name as crime boss Tony Soprano
The New Jersey-born actor died of a suspected heart attack while on holiday in Rome
The New Jersey-born actor died of a suspected heart attack while on holiday in Rome
He won numerous awards for his performance as the ruthless mob boss who went to therapy
He won numerous awards for his performance as the ruthless mob boss who went to therapy

Actor James Gandolfini, who made the ruthless mob boss Tony Soprano one of the great television characters of all time, has died at age 51.

The New Jersey-born actor died of a suspected heart attack while on holiday in the Italian capital, Rome.

He was cast in 1999 as the lead in The Sopranos, David Chase's dramatic series for HBO about a suburban Mafioso in therapy.

The show made him a star, earning him three Emmy awards for outstanding lead actor in a drama series.

By the time the show finished its sixth and final season in 2007, Gandolfini was earning a reported $1 million per episode.

Gandolfini, who was a character actor, also had supporting roles in films including Get Shorty, The Mexican and Zero Dark Thirty.

He was married to Deborah Lin and the couple had a baby girl last October.

He has a son from a previous marriage.