Sopranos star Frank Vincent has died at the age of 78 following a heart attack.

The actor suffered a heart attack last week and died on Wednesday (September 13, 2017) during open-heart surgery in a hospital in New Jersey, according to TMZ.

Vincent was best known for his role in The Sopranos, in which he played the boss of the Lupertazzi crime family, Phil Leotardo.

He also starred in classic Martin Scorsese mobster movies such as Goodfellas, Casino and Raging Bull.

Vincent acknowledged that his Italian-American heritage led him to become typecast as a gangster in films, and that it would often come down to him competing with Joe Pesci for roles, who he starred alongside a number of times.

"They need a gangster, they call Frank or Joe. An Italian-American? Frank or Joe. It is who you are. I've played other roles, but because of my New Jersey background, it lends itself beautifully to that. There's not a lot you can do about it but try to do other diverse roles," he told NJ.com in 2009.

Vincent is survived by his wife Katherine and his three children.