James GandolfiniAP

Thousands of family members, friends, co-stars, and fans flocked to James Gandolfini's funeral Thursday, June 27, to remember the 51-year-old actor who had a "huge heart and spirit."

The ceremony, held at New York City's Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, featured tributes from "The Sopranos" creator David Chase and Gandolfini's widow, Deborah Lin. Famous faces in attendance included Edie Falco, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Steve Buscemi, Alec Baldwin, Julianna Margulies, NBC News anchor Brian Williams, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

"My husband was an honest, kind, and loving man," said Lin. "He cared more about others than himself. He took the time to ask others in the course of the day how they were doing."

Thomas Richardson, Gandolfini's former assistant, said that care for others stretched to helping victims of Hurricane Sandy along the Jersey Shore, as well aiding disabled veterans through his longtime involvement with the Wounded Warriors Project.

Chase read from a letter he penned to Gandolfini -- it was too difficult to write a eulogy, he said -- and told those assembled that he "always felt that we were brothers." Speaking of Gandolfini's mastery of acting, Chase said it was Gandolfini's subtle, childlike quality that attracted audiences to his performances.

"That's why I think you were such a great actor, because of that boy inside," he said. "I think your talent is that you can take the immensity of humankind and the universe and shine it right back at us."

Gandolfini passed away June 19 while vacationing in Italy with his teenage son, Michael. He also leaves behind his 8-month-old daughter, Liliana.

[via Variety, ABC News]

James Gandolfini's Funeral

categories Celebrity Gossip