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James Gandolfini, former 'Sopranos' star, dead at 51

Not Fade Away (movie)Charlie Sheen

James Gandolfini, who rose to fame as the agonized mob boss on HBO's groundbreaking drama "The Sopranos," has died, the network confirmed late Wednesday.

FULL OBITUARY: James Gandolfini brought swagger, genius to 'The Sopranos'

Gandolfini, who was 51, was stricken during a stay in Italy, according to reports. The cause of death was not immediately known but was initially attributed to either a heart attack or stroke.

On "The Sopranos," Gandolfini played New Jersey crime boss Tony Soprano, who alternated acts of mayhem with a visits to his psychiatrist.

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Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

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