James Gandolfini dies

GandolfiniStar of The Sopranos dies at 51.

Fans are still in shock over the sudden death of Sorpranos star James Gandolfini Wednesday, who suddenly passed away at the age of 51 while vacationing in Italy.

Gandolfini was best known for playing mobster Tony Sorprano on the 1999-2007 critically acclaimed HBO series, which set the tone for successful character-driven dramas on cable.

The news of his death spread like wildfire yesterday, especially on social media. Gandolfini’s name was the top trend on Twitter in the U.S. throughout most of Wednesday evening. Fans all around the world were sending their condolences and expressing sorrow over his sudden death.

Over the course of The Sorpranos‘ 86 episodes, Gandolfini won three Emmy awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama, three Screen Actor Guild awards, three TCA awards, and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Drama. Before he starred in The Sorpranos, Gandolfini had roles in films such as Get Shorty and True Romance. His first big break came when he landed a role on Broadway in A Streetcar Named Desire. In 2009, Gandolfini returned to Broadway in a role in God Of Carnage.

The show Gandolfini was a part of was recently ranked as the best written television show of all-time from the Writer’s Guild of America (West). The Sopranos had a profound impact on the industry with its unique storytelling and deep character development. The final scene of The Sorpranos‘ series finale caused a bit of controversy when a major plot was about to go down involving Tony and the screen cut to black, leaving his fate in the balance. Still, it was one of the most talked about TV moments of 2007.

At the time of his death, Gandolfini was working on another series for HBO, Criminal Justice. Production recently wrapped on the project.

Gandolfini is survived by his wife Deborah, and his son Michael, from another marriage.