(CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called James Gandolfini a "true Jersey guy" in a statement mourning the actor's death Wednesday.
Gandolfini, whose most famous character was mob boss Tony Soprano, was born in Westwood. His manager said Wednesday he had died, possibly of a heart attack, while in Rome. He was 51.
“It’s an awful shock," Christie wrote. "James Gandolfini was a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy. I was a huge fan of his and the character he played so authentically, Tony Soprano. I have gotten to know Jimmy and many of the other actors in the Sopranos cast and I can say that each of them are an individual New Jersey treasure. Mary Pat and I express our deepest sympathies to Mr. Gandolfini’s wife and children, and our prayers are with them at this terrible time.”
Tragic loss of a fine actor. He was a big guy, though; Christie was smart to have the bypass surgery. Carrying around all that extra weight is extremely stressful on the body.
RIP – great actor and humanitarian. He worked with wounded warriors.
Whatever Chrisite is a fan of, he's as huge fan.