LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The Hollywood community—much like the world of politics, sports and news—reacted to the sudden death of “The Sopranos” star James Gandolfini on social media.

“The Sopranos” creator David Chase said in a statement, “He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that.  He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time.  A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, ‘You don’t get it.  You’re like Mozart”  There would be silence at the other end of the phone. For Deborah and Michael and Lilliana this is crushing. And it’s bad for the rest of the world. He wasn’t easy sometimes.  But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can’t explain and never will be able to explain.”

Senator John McCain wrote on Twitter, “RIP James Gandolfini, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.”

“God of Carnage” co-star Jeff Daniels said, “If Broadway has a version of a guy you want in your foxhole, Jim Gandolfini was mine. During our time together in ‘God of Carnage,’ we played 320 performances together. He didn’t miss one. Sadly, I now miss him like a brother.”

“Sopranos” co-star Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Melfi) said, “We lost a giant today. I am utterly heartbroken.”

Funnyman Steve Carrell wrote, “Unbelievably sad news. A fine man.”

Nancy Sinatra wrote, “So tragic. Heart breaking. Wonderful man and one of the finest actor who ever lived. Godspeed, Jim & thank you.”

Director Rod Lurie wrote on Facebook, “At first I thought it was a hoax. The reporting seemed very shaky to me. Maybe it was wishful thinking. Maybe it still is. Most of you knew Jim Gandolfini as Tony Soprano. I knew him as a friend. I could (and will) tell you so many stories from us shooting ‘The Last Castle’ together – but there are many more I am sworn to secrecy about. Sorry to be coy. There was nobody who could break down a scene better, few better to play chess with, none more fun to go to the Palm with, and not a single one who could squeeze your insides out harder with his bear hugs. He was a volcano of an actor and so much more than that as a man. He is also the first of my stars to die. Not a good day.”

On Facebook, comedian Kathy Griffin linked to a bit from her stand-up act about meeting Gandolfini. “RIP Mr. Gandolfini. If you have 4.5 minutes please enjoy this story about my run in with this GREAT talent!”

SLIDESHOW: James Gandolfini, An Icon Remembered

Also on Facebook, actor Gilles Marini wrote, “I am heartbroken. My bud James Gandolfini just died. Last Saturday he told me at our kids graduation that he was so happy to go with his son to Italy. A boy trip! It was an honor to have met this man, such a great Dad! I spent so much time with James son teaching him soccer. I feel for that kid it must be so hard right now for little Michael . Guys say a prayer for him and his family. This is going to be very difficult time for them. I am so so sad! 😦 RIP Brother you’ll be missed !”

Michael Chiklis tweeted, “This is a tremendous loss. A brilliant actor and a wonderful man. Our deepest sympathies to his family. Devastating.”

Katey Sagal treeted, “Speechless. James Gandolfini. Really sad. Hug the kids.”

Will Arnett tweeted, “So saddened by news of James Gandolfini’s death. What talent. He shall be missed.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, “It’s an awful shock. James was a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy. I was a huge fan of his and the character he played so authentically, Tony Soprano. I have gotten to know Jimmy and many of the other actors in the ‘Sopranos’ cast and I can say that each of them are an individual New Jersey treasure.”

Aerosmith’s Joe Perry tweeted, “James Gandolfini, what a nice guy, so funny and sweet. He will be sorely missed. Our deepest condolences to his family.”

Newark Mayor Cory Booker tweeted, “My condolences to the family and all those who loved James Gandolfini – a true NJ Great and NJ Original. RIP.”

Comedian Artie Lange tweeted, “You will be missed greatly James Gandolfini. Maybe best actor ever on a tv series. Salute”

“Surviving Christmas” co-star Christina Applegate tweeted, “I am so deeply saddened by the untimely passing of sweet James Gandolfini. My heart is broken for his family!! I’m in shock.”

Olivia Wilde tweeted, “James Gandolfini was a kind, funny, wonderful guy. I’m so lucky to have worked with him. Sending love to his family. Such a sad, sad day. worked with him on ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.'”

Bette Midler tweeted, “The great James Gandolfini passed away today. Only 51. I can’t believe it.”

Steven Van Zandt, a “Sopranos” co-star — Silvio — tweeted, “I have lost a brother and a best friend. The world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time.”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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