Brad Pitt has paid tribute to ''gentle soul'' James Gandolfini.

The 49-year-old actor was saddened by the sudden death of James - who he worked with on 1993 movie 'True Romance', 2001's 'The Mexican' and last year's 'Killing Them Softly' - after the 51-year-old actor passed away following a heart attack on Monday (19.06.13) while vacationing in Italy.

He said in a statement: ''I admire Jimmy as a ferocious actor, a gentle soul and a genuinely funny man. I am fortunate to have sat across the table from him and am gutted by this loss. I wish his family strength and some semblance of peace.''

Brad has previously spoken about his admiration for 'The Sopranos' actor James, calling him ''the man''.

After working together on 'The Mexican', Brad said: ''He's the man. He's one of those great actors who finds meaning in every line. I love watching him work.''

James was on a bonding trip with his teenage son Michael when he passed away in Rome and Michael's mother, the actor's first wife Marcy Wudarski, is said to have immediately booked a flight to Italy to be with her son after learning of the actor's death.

Along with Michael, James is survived by his second wife, Deborah Lin, and their eight-month-old daughter Liliana.