James Gandolfini – who famously played Tony Soprano on HBO’s “The Sopranos” — died earlier today in Italy … TMZ has learned. Gandolfini is believed to have suffered a heart attack. He was 51. Gandolfini was in Italy to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily — and he was scheduled to participate in a festival event this weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.
Everyone knows James Gandolfini as Anthoni Saprano. Much of the HBO drama's success hinged upon James Gandolfini's performance, as he convincingly portrayed a mafia don like we'd never seen before. Tony was truly a gangster of the post-modern era. He had to balance taking his kids to soccer games and going to therapy sessions -- all the while, running New Jersey's biggest mob family.
Here is a little history of his personal life:
Gandolfini maintained ties with his Park Ridge hometown by supporting its The Octoberwoman Foundation for Breast Cancer Research. He appeared at its annual October banquet and often brought other Sopranos cast members to help draw larger crowds. He resided in New York City, and owned a lot on the Lake Manitoba Narrows. In 2009 Gandolfini purchased a home in the hills of Tewksbury Township, New Jersey, U.S.
On August 30, 2008, after two years of dating, Gandolfini married former model Deborah Lin, who was forty years old at the time, in her hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii. Their daughter Liliana Ruth Gandolfini was born in Los Angeles, California, U.S. in October 2012. Gandolfini was also father to a teenage son named Michael, who is a child from the actor's former marriage to Marcy Wudarski, from whom he divorced in December 2002.
Gandolfini's sister Johanna Antonacci is the manager of the Family Division of the New Jersey Superior Court in Hackensack, New Jersey. A fan of motorcycles, Gandolfini owned a Harley-Davidson and a Vespa scooter. On May 4, 2006, he was riding the Vespa in New York City traffic when it was hit by a taxi cab, resulting in knee surgery which postponed for three months the filming of the final Sopranos episodes.
He was by far one of the best television actors of our time. RIP you will be missed.