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LOS ANGELES — James 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 in Italy. He was 51.
He died while on holiday in Rome, the cable channel and Mr. Gandolfini’s managers Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders said in a joint statement. No cause of death was given.
‘‘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.’’