A ''shocked and devastated'' Edie Falco has paid tribute to the late James Gandolfini, who she starred alongside for a decade in hit Mafia series 'The Sopranos'.
Edie played Carmela Soprano, the wife of James Mob boss character Tony Soprano, in TV series 'The Sopranos' for a decade and she has admitted she is ''shocked and devastated'' to hear of her former co-star's sudden passing from a suspected heart attack while on vacation in Italy with his teenage son, Michael.
In a statement, she said: ''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.''
'The Sopranos' - which ran on TV from 1999 to 2007, but was worked on before it first aired - won numerous awards during its run, including the prestigious Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series twice.
Edie insists she will try and focus on the good times she and James shared, and offered her deepest condolences to his family, wife Deborah Lin, their nine-month-old daughter Liliana and his son Michael - from his marriage to Marcy Wudarski.
She added: ''My heart goes out to his family. As those of us in his pretend [family] one hold onto the memories of our intense and beautiful time together. The love between Tony and Carmela was one of the greatest I've ever known.''
Some of the most poignant tributes since James' death have come from his castmates in 'The Sopranos'.
Joe Gannascoli, who played Vito Spatafore, said: ''James is one guy who never turned his back on me. He was the most humble and gifted actor and person I have ever worked with ... and I will forever be indebted to him.''
Lorraine Bracco, who played gangster Tony's psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi, said: ''We lost a giant. I am utterly heartbroken.''