The 51-year-old actor played mafia boss Tony Soprano in the acclaimed TV series. He was in Italy on a family holiday and was scheduled to attend the Taormina Film Festival when he passed away, reports The Sun.

Tributes poured in for the New Jersey born actor. Sopranos co-star Joseph R. Gannascoli, who played Vito Spatafore, said: “He was the most humble and gifted actor and person I have worked with.He was a great man and I will forever be indebted to him.”

Veteran TV host Larry King and other friends said they saw no signs of any health problems. Larry, who was with him recently in Las Vegas, said: “He was extremely friendly — just a regular guy. He was a gentle, fun person. He did enjoy eating. He was not shy at the table.”

Born in New Jersey, Gandolfini had been planning a new show for US cable network HBO. He leaves behind second wife Deborah, an son and a daughter.

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