James Gandolfini, Sopranos star, dies in Italy aged 51

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James Gandolfini, the US actor best known for his role as a therapy-seeking mob boss in The Sopranos, died in Italy while on holiday.

The New Jersey-born star had been in Italy to attend the Taormina film festival in Sicily.

He won three Emmy awards for his role as Tony Soprano, a mafia boss juggling his criminal career and family life.

Sopranos creator David Chase described the actor as one of the greatest of all time.

‘He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that,’ he said.

‘He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of genius resided in those sad eyes,’ he added.

“It is with immense sorrow that we report our client James Gandolfini passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy,” said his managers, Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders, in a statement on Wednesday night.

“Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply.”

The US actor is survived by his wife and their daughter, Liliana, born last year.

He also leaves a teenage son, Michael, from his first marriage.

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