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In Memoriam: James Gandolfini

North Shore Animal League was deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of actor and animal lover James Gandolfini, a great friend to us and to the cause of animal rescue.

Gandolfini adopted Duke from Animal League America in 2008, and neighbors fondly recall him walking his beloved dog each morning through the streets of his Tribeca neighborhood in Manhattan.

Gandolfini, who died Wednesday, June 19, at age 51, was best known for his role as Tony Soprano, a tough-hearted mobster. But according to those who knew him best, he was quite the opposite, and he had an especially soft spot for his Mutt-i-gree and all animals in need of adoption.

One newspaper report quoted a woman as saying, “"I would see him getting coffee with his dog. He was always so sweet with his dog, and made sure the dog had water while he ran in on a hot day."

In a statement, HBO called the actor a great talent and a gentle and loving person.

We join all of Gandolfini’s fans in mourning the passing of this wonderful and talented man.