Sopranos star Tony Sirico dies aged 79: 'So heartbroken'

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Sopranos star Tony Sirico has died aged 79 with his brother announcing the heartbreaking news on Facebook.

The actor, who played mobster Paulie Walnuts, died on July 8, according to his brother Robert who is a priest and will preside over the funeral.

"It is with great sadness, but with incredible pride, love and a whole lot of fond memories, that the family of Gennaro Anthony 'Tony' Sirico wishes to inform you of his death on the morning of July 8, 2022," the post said.

Actor Tony Sirico attends the 75th Anniversary USO Armed Forces Gala at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on December 13, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
Actor Tony Sirico has died aged 79. Source: Getty

​"Tony is survived by his two beloved children, Joanne Sirico Bello and Richard Sirico, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews and many other relatives."

Co-stars have paid tribute to the actor, with Michael Imperioli describing Tony as "irreplaceable".

"It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and partner in crime, the great TONY SIRICO has passed away today," he wrote on Instagram.

"Tony was like no one else: he was as tough, as loyal and as big hearted as anyone i’ve ever known. I was at his side through so much: through good times and bad. But mostly good. And we had a lot of laughs. We found a groove as Christopher and Paulie and I am proud to say I did a lot of my best and most fun work with my dear pal Tony.

"I will miss him forever. He is truly irreplaceable. I send love to his family, friends and his many many fans. He was beloved and will never be forgotten. Heartbroken today."

Jamie Lynn Sigler also posted a tribute saying she was "so heartbroken".

"I loved you so much. I have never been able to walk into a room that you were in without you giving me an enormous hug, drenching me in your cologne, and making sure I knew any man that came near me would have to answer to you first," she said.

"You were SUCH a phenomenal actor. Stealing every scene you were in. You were tough, and strong, yet sweet and a real artist. There will never ever be anyone like you. I feel so lucky to have known you and been loved by you."

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