James Gandolfini has died aged 51 after a suspected heart attack.
The Sopranos star was on vacation in Rome with his son on a “boys trip” when his shock death occurred.
James was reportedly due to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily.
He is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, their nine-month-old daughter Liliana Ruth and his teenage son Michael.
Gandolfini’s sudden and unexpected death has prompted a huge outpouring of grief from those who worked with the actor, with many celebrities taking to Twitter to pay tribute.
Actor and friend Gilles Marini revealed on his Facebook page that Gandolfini had travelled to Italy with his son Michael for a boy trip.
“I am heartbroken. My bud James Gandolfini just died. Last Saturday he told me at our kids graduation [that] he was so happy to go with his son to Italy. A boy trip!” wrote Marini.
“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 [Michael].”
In a statement Gandolfini’s managers Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders confirmed the death, which happened on Wednesday.
“Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply. He and his family were part of our family for many years and we are all grieving,” they said.
Cable channel HBO called the actor a “special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone, no matter their title or position, with equal respect.”
“We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family.”
“He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us.”
Gandolfini rose to fame playing the hit man in the 1993 film True Romance, and roles in films such as Terminal Velocity and Get Shorty followed.
His breakout role in the 1999 hit show The Sopranos, made James a household name.
Playing mob boss Tony Soprano, the 51-year-old won three Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the mob boss.
Gandolfini won a huge fan base playing complicated character, who juggled family life with his wife and children with leading a criminal organization at the same time.
The character died in the season finale, although the audience was never shown the moment of his death.