Christie on Gandolfini: "A fine actor" and "a true Jersey guy"

The New Jersey governor praised "The Sopranos" star, who on Wednesday died of a heart attack at age 51

Published June 20, 2013 1:28PM (EDT)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, R, said in a statement that the death of James Gandolfini on Wednesday was an "awful shock," and that the star of "The Sopranos" was a "fine actor" and a "true Jersey guy."

“It’s an awful shock. James Gandolfini was a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy," Christie wrote. "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.”

Gandolfini died on Wednesday at age 51, reportedly of cardiac arrest while on vacation with his family in Italy.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Chris Christie James Gandolfini New Jersey Republicans The Sopranos