The sudden passing of James Gandolfini in Italy yesterday drew statements from two actors with whom he became famous. Statements of sorrow came from Edie Falco, who played his wife on The Sopranos, and Micheal Imperioli, who played his nephew.
Gandolfini was in Rome when stricken and the head of the emergency department at the Policlinico Umberto Hospital there, Dr. Claudio Modini, said the actor's death was from cardiac arrest.
The 51-year-old was stricken suddenly in the bathroom of his hotel and reports are that his son, Michael, 13, found him in distress. He was still alive when the ambulance took him but Dr. Modini, who did not treat him, said he may have died before he got to the hospital. They performed resuscitation on him for 40 minutes at the hospital to no avail. He was pronounced dead at 2300 hrs., Rome time, on Wednesday night.
He was in Italy to take part in the Taormina Film Fest in Sicily on June 22. He is also survived by his wife of five years, Deborah Lin and their nine-month-old daughter, Liliana, also in Rome at the time of his death. His son is from his first marriage.
The actor made a deep impression on those he worked alongside. “I am shocked and devastated by Jim’s passing," Falco, 49, said in a statement. "He was a man of tremendous depth and sensitivity, with a kindness and generosity beyond words."
“I consider myself very lucky to have spent 10 years as his close colleague. My heart goes out to his family as those of us in his pretend one hold on to the memories of our intense and beautiful time together. The love between Tony and Carmela was one of the greatest I’ve ever known.”
The 47-year-old Imperioli also played a character intensely connected to Tony Soprano, his nephew and henchman, Christoper Moltisanti, and the two actors spent a great deal of time together.
“Jimmy treated us all like family with a generosity, loyalty and compassion that is rare in this world,” Imperioli wrote in his statement. “I will be forever grateful having had a friend the likes of Jimmy.”