The Sopranos family is expressing grief and shock over the sudden death Wednesday of James Gandolfini.
Stevie Van Zandt, who played Silvio Dante, released a statement to RumorFix saying, “I have lost a brother and a best friend. The world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time. Maureen and I send our deepest sympathy and love to Deborah, Michael, Lily, and all of Jimmy’s family.”
Maureen Van Zandt, Stevie’ wife in real life and on TV, tweeted, “I loved James so much. He was a beautiful man and a genius. I was honored to breathe the same air as him. I’ll love and remember him forever.”
David Chase, creator of The Sopranos issued a statement, saying: “He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, ‘You don’t get it. You’re like Mozart.’ There would be silence at the other end of the phone. For Deborah and Michael and Lilliana this is crushing. And it’s bad for the rest of the world. He wasn’t easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can’t explain and never will be able to explain.”
Stevie, David and James remained friends through the years — they recently worked together on the film Not Fade Away.
James suffered from a heart attack and died at the age of 51.