Tony Sirico Dies: ‘The Sopranos’ Creator David Chase Remembers Him as a ‘Main Reason’ for Show’s Success

by Samantha Whidden

Following the news that Tony Sirico passed away at the age of 79, “The Sopranos” creator David Chase remembers the late actor. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The Sopranos” creator issued a statement about Tony Sirico. He described the late actor as a jewel. “The way Buddhists refer to a jewel – supernatural and a master. But certainly not a Zen master. He was so uproarious, so funny, so talented.”

Chase then stated he was happy for Tony Sirico that in his mid-50s and 60s, the late actor finally learned how talented and loved he was. “I was just thinking about him yesterday, strangely enough, and was reminded that he was a main for the success of ‘The Sopranos.’ I will miss him greatly, Gennaro. As will the world.”

As previously reported, Tony Sirico played Paulie Walnuts on “The Sopranos” from 1999 to 2007. Along with the HBO series, Sirico also starred in “Goodfellas,” Mob Queen,” “Mighty Aphrodite,” and “Love and Money.”

Tony Sirico passed away at an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Although the cause of death has not been revealed, Sirico notably suffered from dementia for the past couple of years. His manager of 25 years, Bob McGowan, issued a statement after the news broke of his passing. “Not only was he a loyal client, he was a good friend.”

HBO also issued a statement on Twitter, describing Sirico as being a tremendous and one-of-a-kind talent. “On ‘The Sopranos,’ his legendary performance as the unwavering Paulie Walnuts cemented him as an icon, beloved for his one-liners and steadfast devotion. He will be sorely missed by the HBO family.”

‘The Sopranos’ Star Michael Imperioli Pays Tribute to Co-Star Tony Sirico 

In a post on Instagram, “The Sopranos” star Michael Imperioli opens up about how Tony Sirico impacted his life and the show. “It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague, and partner in crime,” he began. “The great TONY SIRICO has passed away today. Tony was like no one else: he was as tough, as loyal, and as big hearted as anyone I’ve ever known.”

Imperioli also wrote that he was at Tony Sirico’s side through so much, including the good and bad times. “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 pay Tony.”

“The Sopranos” actor went on to note he will miss Tony Sirico forever, calling the late actor irreplaceable. He then added, “I sent his love to his family, friends, and his many, many fans. He was beloved and will never be forgotten. Heartbroken today.”