The passing of James Gandolfini at the age of 51 has rocked the entertainment world and sent a massive outpouring of remembrances and love for the award-winning star.

The actor was reportedly on vacation in Rome when he suffered a heart attack. He was scheduled to participate in an event this weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino as part of the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily.

Gandolfini, best known for playing a troubled mob boss on the HBO hit "The Sopranos," was remembered as a genius by series creator David Chase. "Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that," he told TMZ. "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."

Tributes from others around the world immediately started spreading over Twitter, with everyone from Steve Carrell to Sen. John McCain sending condolences.

Of particular note was the tweet by BJ Novak of "The Office," who included Gandolfini's "Inside the Actor's Studio" appearance - calling it "one of the most inspiring interviews about acting I have ever seen."

Survivors include his wife, Deborah Lin; a daughter, Liliana, born last year; and a teenage son, Michael, from his marriage to Marcella Wudarski.

Let us know your thoughts and rememberances of James Gandolfini in the comments section below.

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

James Gandolfini, famed 'Sopranos' star and gentle giant, dies at 51
Actor passed away after suffering a heart attack while on vacation in Rome, Italy.