Actor James Gandolfini dies in Italy at age 51

James Gandolfini, who gained fame playing a memorable

James Gandolfini, who gained fame playing a memorable mafia boss on HBO's "The Sopranos" by giving the role a contemporary twist of visiting a therapist for middle-age anxieties, died after suffering a possible heart attack in Italy. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

LOS ANGELES - (AP) - HBO and James Gandolfini's managers say the actor famous for his role in "The Sopranos" has died in Italy.

The cable channel, and managers Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders, say the 51-year-old Gandolfini died Wednesday while on holiday in Rome.

In a statement, HBO called the actor a great talent and a gentle and loving person.

Gandolfini played conflicted mob boss Tony Soprano in the groundbreaking HBO series that aired from 1999 to 2007.

His film credits included "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Killing Them Softly," and he appeared in the Broadway production "God of Carnage."

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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