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'Sopranos' icon Tony Sirico dead at 79

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Tony Sirico has died at the age of 79. File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/2aea6239d13e9bc69453e8c6b1dbbef6/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Tony Sirico has died at the age of 79. File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI | License Photo

July 9 (UPI) -- Tony Sirico, the New York actor best known for playing Paulie Walnuts Gualtieri on The Sopranos, has died at an assisted living facility in Florida. He was 79.

"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," his family said in a statement Friday.

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The exact cause of his death has not been disclosed to the public, but the actor had been suffering from dementia in recent years.

"Not only was he a loyal client, he was a good friend," his manager Bob McGowan told The Hollywood Reporter.

Sirico's Sopranos co-stars Michael Imperioli and Steve Van Zandt also remembered him fondly.

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

"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."

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"RIP Tony Sirico. Legendary. Silvio's best buddy 'Paulie Walnuts' in The Sopranos, Frankie 'The Fixer's' older brother Antonino 'Father Tony' Tagliano in Lilyhammer. A larger than life character on and off screen. Gonna miss you a lot my friend. Deepest condolences to the family," Van Zandt wrote in his own social media post.

Sirico's other credits include Crazy Joe, Goodfellas, Cop Land, Mickey Blue Eyes, Bullets Over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite, Everyone Says I Love You, Deconstructing Harry, Celebrity, Wonder Wheel, Family Guy, Lilyhammer, American Dad, Miami Vice, Chuck, Medium, Taxi Brooklyn, The Grinder and Respect the Jux.

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NFL player turned actor Brad William Henke at the SAG Awards in 2018. Henke, who was best known for portraying corrections officer Desi Piscatella on "Orange is the New Black," died at the age of 56 on November 29. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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