- (Photo: Twitter)
James Gandolfini, the actor best known for his role as Tony Soprano on HBO's "The Sopranos," died Wednesday while in Italy with reports indicating that he was found by his teenage son.
The actor's son Michael, 13, reportedly found his father alive in the bathroom of their Rome hotel room after the actor suffered an apparent heart attack.
The teen called for help as his father struggled for life in his room at the Hotel Boscolo around 10 p.m., Antonio D'amore the hotel's manager told NBC.
Hotel employees attempted to resuscitate Gandolfini, 51, as they waited for emergency crews to arrive. The actor was still alive when paramedics arrived, but was later pronounced dead at Policlinico Umberto I hospital, located about three minutes away from the hotel.
"This is young to have a heart attack, even when you look at any pre-existing health conditions," CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta explained.
Co-workers and fans paid glowing respects to Gandolfini online.
"Too soon to lose such a gifted actor of screen & stage. Great Jersey guy. Missing James Gandolfini this morning & the days to follow," tweeted Rachael Ray.
The actor was in Italy to make an appearance at the Taormina Film Fest in Sicily reports CNN.
"It is with immense sorrow that we report our client, James Gandolfini, passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy," managers Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders said in a joint statement according to CNN. "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."
Not only was Gandolfini king of "The Sopranos," but he was also able to take on Broadway. In 2009, he earned a best-actor Tony Award nomination for his role in "God of Carnage."
Gandolfini leaves behind wife Deborah, and two children, nine-month-old Liliana and 13-year-old Michael from a previous marriage.