The passing of James Gandolfini, the man who brought Tony Soprano to life on the massively successful HBO series The Sopranos, has sent shockwaves across the online community and elsewhere as fans of the actor have come out in force to give their respects to the fallen acting great. The likes of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Mark Ruffalo, John Cusack and Sopranos creator David Chase are among those who have since come forward to pay their respects to the attention-shy star, each speaking in the highest esteem for the actor.

Gandolfini was notoriously personal and attention shy, rarely giving interviews and avoiding many major productions because he was wary of the exposure he'd get and of the demanding work hours usually required. But Gandolfini was by no means a lazy man, nor did he lack the acting ability that could have seen him become one of the most acclaimed actors fo the last ten years - not that his portrayal of Tony Soprano has earned him anything other than praise. But James Joseph Gandolfini, Jr. was never in the acting game for praise, only for a love of the art he eventually became increasingly disenfranchised with. The actor famously quipped about acting, "It is an odd way to make a living. Putting someone else's pants on and pretending to be someone else is occasionally, as you grow older, horrifying."

Understandably, people from across the entertainment business and from even further afield have paid their respects to James in some way or another. David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, called Gandolfini "a genius" and "his partner and brother," in a statement made after the announcement of his death, with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie going on to call Gandolfini "a New Jersey treasure."

Actor John Cusack was among those paying their respects to the actor on Twitter, writing, "Rest in Peace James Gandolfini. May your star shine brightly on wherever you may lie," whilst Lindsay Lohan of all people even gave her respects with the comment; "James is iconic. He will go down with such names as Robert Deniro, Al Pacino, Warren Beatty, Marlon Brando and Joe Pesci as the best mobster actors. His legacy as Tony Soprano will forever be in the history books."

Born September 18, 1961 in Westwood, New Jersey, Gandolfini died suddenly whilst vacationing in Rome, with early reports suggesting that he died from an acute myocardial infarction or a stroke. He leaves behind a wife, Deborah Lin, and his two children; the infant Liliana Ruth Gandolfini and his son, Michael, from his previous marriage that ended in 2002.

James Gandolfini Critics Choice
Gandolfini will always be remembered for his role as Tony Soprano

James Gandolfini Iris Premiere
James and his family