Emmy-winning "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini passed away yesterday, June 19, from an apparent heart attack while on vacation in Rome, Italy, just days before he was scheduled to appear at Sicily's Taormina Film Festival. He was only 51.
Even more tragic than the loss of such a formidable acting talent is the fact that Gandolfini has left behind his wife, Deborah, 8-month-old daughter, Liliana, and 13-year-old son, Michael -- and it was Michael who reportedly discovered his father collapsed in the bathroom of their hotel room in Rome.
Hotel Boscolo manager Antonio D'amore tells NBC News that the teen found his father around 10 p.m. and called for help. Gandolfini was still alive at the time, NBC reports, but was later pronounced dead at nearby Policlinico Umberto I hospital.
"We're all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family," HBO mourned in a statement. "He was a special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect. He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us."
Among countless celebs who've released heartfelt statements, fellow HBO star Jeff Daniels, who played opposite Gandolfini in the 2009 Broadway production of "God of Carnage," delivered one of the most touching: "If Broadway has a version of a guy you want in your foxhole, Jim Gandolfini was mine," he said. "During our time together in 'God of Carnage,' we played 320 performances together. He didn't miss one. Sadly, I now miss him like a brother."
[via NBC News]