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Remembering James Gandolfini

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James Gandolfini James Gandolfini
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

James Gandolfini, the actor who played mobster Tony Soprano in the hit HBO series, The Sopranos,' died on Wednesday while on vacation with his family in Rome. He was 51.

TV critics can't say enough about the star power of the gentle giant and the man who turned the mobster stereotype on its head.

"Even when he was on Broadway in God of Carnage and the small films and big ones--- most recently Zero Dark Thirty--- there was a little of Tony in everything he did. It wasn't until James Gandolfini came along that people called their cable company to subscribe to this thing because it was water cooler chat the next day," said Forbes media critic Bill McCuddy.

"There is something about him. He's a gentle giant. It was such an unusual casting. He came out of nowhere and became a TV icon. He created a vulnerable monster. People loved Tony Soprano," said TV Guide senior critic Matt Roush.

"He was like a brother to everybody. He’s really a humble guy," said friend and Sopranos co-star Dominic Chianese.

In the series, Gandolfini was a bulky mobster, a therapy patient, family man and cold-blooded killer.

The New Jersey native leaves behind a wife, baby daughter and teenage son.

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