Chris Christie: Gandolfini 'died much too young'

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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 nj.com. "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 Menendez (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 Eonline.com.

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

On Twitter, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recalled meeting the actor.