James Galdolfini Dies: Edie Falco, Brad Pitt, Other Celebs Pay Tribute

Celebrity News Jun. 20, 2013 AT 9:40AM
James Gandolfini on "The Sopranos" James Gandolfini on "The Sopranos" Credit: HBO/Courtesy of Everett Collection

James Gandolfini will never be forgotten. Immediately after the Sopranos star's death in Italy -- at age 51 -- was confirmed, tributes and remembrances continue pouring in for Gandolfini, whose career was defined by his portrayal of Tony Soprano in HBO's Sopranos, widely considered one of the best TV shows of all time, and one of the most iconic characters in pop cultural history. His long, illustrious film career includes such movies as Zero Dark Thirty, Killing Them Softly, Where the Wild Things Are, Romance and Cigarettes and much more.) The star leaves behind wife Deborah, son Michael, 13, and 9-month-old daughter Lily.

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Edie Falco, who played Tony's long-suffering wife Carmela Soprano, tells Us in a statement: "I am shocked and devastated by Jim's passing. 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."

Brad Pitt, who costarred with Gandolfini in three films (True Romance, Killing Them Softly, and The Mexican), added his condolences: "I admire Jimmy as a ferocious actor, a gentle soul and a genuinely funny man. I am fortunate to have sat across the table from him and am gutted by this loss. I wish his family strength and some semblance of peace."

Robert Iler, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Edie Falco and James Gandolfini in
Robert Iler, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Edie Falco and James Gandolfini in "The Sopranos"
Credit: HBO/Courtesy of Everett Collection

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Added Michael Imperioli, who played Tony's protege Chris Moltisanti: "Jimmy treated us all like family with a generosity, loyalty and compassion that is rare in this world.. Working with him was a pleasure and a privilege. I will be forever grateful having had a friend the likes of Jimmy."

Aida Turturro, who played Tony's sister Janice Soprano: "I've not only lost a great friend, but a true brother, on screen and off. James was the most generous actor to work with, but more so, a man with a heart of gold. I love him and my heart goes out to his family."

Actress Lorraine Bracco, who played Tony's therapist Dr. Melfi, said in a statement: "We lost a giant today. I am utterly heartbroken."

"I have lost a brother and a best friend," Sopranos costar Stevie Van Zandt (who played fellow mobster Silvio Dante) wrote on Facebook. "The world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time. Maureen and I send our deepest sympathy and love to Deborah, Michael, Lily, and all of Jimmy's family."

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Added another Sopranos mainstay, Steven Schirripa, says: "Jimmy was a dear friend and like a brother to me. He was a great actor and a great father. I will miss him terribly. I am very sad."

Sopranos Executive Producer Terence Winter remembers Gandolfini: "I'm truly crushed at the passing of my friend Jim Gandolfini. He was a gifted, fearless actor, respectful of everyone he met, and extraordinarily generous in every possible way. My heart goes out to his wife and children."

Close friend and writer-director Steven Zaillian tells Us in a statement: "I worked with Jim before The Sopranos and after it, and throughout these many years he has always been the same man.  A real man, like they don't make anymore. Honest, humble, loyal, complicated, as grateful for his success as he was unaffected by it, as respectful as he was respected, as generous as he was gifted. He was big, but even bigger-hearted.  I'm so saddened to lose my friend, and sadder still for his family."

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Jeff Daniels, who performed on Broadway recently alongside Gandolfini in the acclaimed show God of Carnage, said, "If Broadway has a version of a guy you want in your foxhole, Jim Gandolfini was mine. 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."

Actor and close friend Gilles Marini grieved via Facebook, and offered touching details on his friend's relationship with his little boy: "I am heartbroken. My bud James Gandolfini just died. Last Saturday he told me at our kids graduation ghat he was so happy to go with his son to Italy. A boy trip! It was an honor to have met this man, such a great Dad! I spent so much time with James son teaching him soccer. I feel for that kid it must be so hard right now for little Micheal . Guys say a prayer for him and his family. This is going to be very difficult time for them. I am so so sad!."

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Director Michael Roskam worked with the star on what would be his final film, Animal Rescue, and tells Us in a statement: "It was such an honor to work with Mr Gandolfini and nothing but a pleasure to see him perform. He was one of the greatest. I'm so sad and thinking about his family. I wanted to make him proud with the movie we made together and now it will be in his loving memory."

"I did a play with James Gandolfini 24 years ago in a basement under a bar in the west village," Melissa Gilbert tweeted. "I'm pretty sure it was one of his very first acting jobs. The year I was first elected SAG prez he threw me in the air at the awards party. "My God I will miss that man. He was so loving and talented and funny. He lived a huge life. The wind is knocked out of me."

"So sad to lose James Gandolfini," Susan Sarandon shared. "One of the sweetest, funniest, most generous actors I’ve ever worked with. Sending prayers to his family."

"James Gandolfini was a kind, funny, wonderful guy," wrote Olivia Wilde. "I'm so lucky to have worked with him. Sending love to his family. Such a sad, sad day."

Nicole Kidman: "Such a great actor, what a big loss. Sending love and prayers to James' family. He will be greatly missed."

"The great James Gandolfini passed away today," Bette Midler wrote. "Only 51. I can't believe it."

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