Actor James Gandolfini, 51, dies of cardiac arrest
FILE - This file photo released by HBO in 2007 shows James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano in a scene from one of the last episodes of the HBO dramatic series "The Sopranos." HBO and the managers for Gandolfini say the actor died Wednesday, June 19, 2013, in Italy. He was 51. (AP Photo/HBO, Craig Blankenhorn, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — James Gandolfini's lumbering, brutish mob boss with the tortured psyche will endure as one of TV's indelible characters.
But his portrayal of criminal Tony Soprano in HBO's landmark drama series "The Sopranos" was just one facet of an actor who created a rich legacy of film and stage work in a life cut short.
Gandolfini, 51, who died Wednesday while vacationing in Rome, refused to be bound by his star-making role in the HBO series that brought him three Emmy Awards during its six-season run and helped change the landscape of television drama.
"He was a genius," said "Sopranos" creator David Chase. "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."
FILE - This Sept. 10, 2000 file photo shows actor James Gandolfini with his award for outstanding lead in a drama series for his work in "The Sopranos" at the 52nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Gandolfini, whose portrayal of a brutal, emotionally delicate mob boss in HBO's "The Sopranos" helped create one of TV's greatest drama series and turned the mobster stereotype on its head, died Wednesday, June 19, 2013 in Italy. He was 51. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, file)
Dr. Claudio Modini, head of the emergency room at the Policlinic Umberto I hospital in Rome, said Gandolfini suffered a cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at 11 p.m. Wednesday after resuscitation efforts in the ambulance and hospital failed.
Modini told The Associated Press that an autopsy would be performed starting 24 hours after the death, as required by law.
Michael Kobold, a family friend, told reporters in Rome that a family member discovered Gandolfini in his hotel room, but he declined to say whom. NBC quoted the manager of Rome's Boscolo Exedra hotel as saying it was Gandolfini's 13-year-old son, Michael.