Chris Christie: Gandolfini 'died much too young'

Gandolfini, 51, the popular star of HBO's "The Sopranos," died Wednesday. In "The Sopranos" Gandolfini played a crime boss in New Jersey. Gandolfini hailed from New Jersey and attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

"All the people in the state really felt a connection to him, not just his character, but to him," Christie said according to "He died much, much too young. We feel for the Gandolfini family."

Other lawmakers also issued statements in response to Gandolfini's death. Sen. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezSenate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico Democrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment Senate close to voting on Mexico ambassador MORE (D-N.J.) called Gandolfini a "television icon."

"James Gandolfini was a distinctive, talented actor whose unforgettable performances made him a television icon," Menendez said according to

Similarly, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) called Gandolfini a "true" New Jersey native.

On Twitter, Sen. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Defense: House panel approves 0B defense bill McCain fundraiser faces felony drug charges in Arizona GOP senator blocks Obama Army nominee over Guantanamo MORE (R-Ariz.) recalled meeting the actor.

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