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Gandolfini Suffered Cardiac Arrest On Family Trip, Reports Say

Actor James Gandolfini died of cardiac arrest, The Los Angeles Times reports, citing the doctor in charge of the emergency department at the hospital in Rome where the Sopranos star was admitted.

Dr. Claudio Modini told the Times that Gandolfini, 51, was already in cardiac arrest when he arrived at Policlinico Umberto I Hospital Wednesday night.

"He was put under resuscitation treatment for 40 minutes, but the emergency staff failed to restart his heart, and at 23:00, he was pronounced deceased," said Modini, who did not personally treat the actor. The doctor said that Gandolfini "could have been deceased on arrival since he was already in cardiac arrest."

The Associated Press says that in accordance with Italian law, an autopsy would be conducted within 24 hours.

Gandolfini was reportedly in Italy to attend a film festival in Sicily, where was slated to received a prize. The actor was also using the trip to honor his son, Michael, reports Today, which says Gandolfini's son had just graduated from junior high school.

Today and other outlets report that it was Michael who found his father in distress in his hotel room, and called for help.

It seems the actor was traveling in a group that also included other family members. The Times reportsthat he was in a group that included his wife, Deborah Lin, and their nine-month-old daughter, Liliana.

Many tributes to Gandolfini have emerged Thursday, as his friends react to the news of his death. Our colleagues at Fresh Air have assembled a collection of other actors discussing Gandolfini, who TV critic David Bianculli says turned in "the best television performance of this current century."

Here are a few statements from his Sopranos colleagues:

Actress Edie Falco: "I am shocked and devastated by Jim's passing. He was a man of tremendous depth and sensitivity, with a kindness and generosity beyond words. I consider myself very lucky to have spent 10 years as his close colleague. My heart goes out to his family. As those of us in his pretend one hold on to the memories of our intense and beautiful time together. The love between Tony and Carmela was one of the greatest I've ever known."

David Chase, Sopranos creator: "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 Liliana 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."

Actor Michael Imperioli: "Jimmy treated us all like family with a generosity, loyalty and compassion that is rare in this world.. Working with him was a pleasure and a privilege. I will be forever grateful having had a friend the likes of Jimmy."

Actress Lorraine Bracco: "We lost a giant today. I am utterly heartbroken."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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