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Tony Sirico, the actor who played Paulie ‘Walnuts’ on ‘The Sopranos,’ dies at 79

Sirico died Friday morning in an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, his manager Bob McGowan confirmed.
In this Sept. 5, 2012, Tony Sirico attends the "Boardwalk Empire" season 3 premiere in New York.
In this Sept. 5, 2012, Tony Sirico attends the "Boardwalk Empire" season 3 premiere in New York. [ CHARLES SYKES | Charles Sykes/Invision/AP ]
Published Jul. 9|Updated Jul. 9

Tony Sirico, the actor best known as loyal gangster Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri in the HBO drama “The Sopranos,” has died. He was 79.

Sirico died Friday morning in an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, his manager Bob McGowan confirmed to The Times. No cause of death was revealed, but the actor had dementia.

“He was a very loyal client of 25 years and he’s an ex-Army vet and always gave to charities,” McGowan said of his client, who was born Gennaro Anthony Sirico Jr. “He’s a big contributor to the Wounded Warriors.”

The Sopranos' tough guys who ruled North Jersey: Michael Imperioli (Christopher), James Gandolfini (Tony), Tony Sirico (Paulie), and Steven Van Zandt (Silvio). Sirico, the actor best known as loyal gangster Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri in the HBO drama “The Sopranos,” has died. He was 79.
The Sopranos' tough guys who ruled North Jersey: Michael Imperioli (Christopher), James Gandolfini (Tony), Tony Sirico (Paulie), and Steven Van Zandt (Silvio). Sirico, the actor best known as loyal gangster Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri in the HBO drama “The Sopranos,” has died. He was 79. [ HBO ]

Michael Imperioli, the actor’s “Sopranos” co-star, honored Sirico in an Instagram post shared Friday.

“It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and partner in crime, the great TONY SIRICO has passed away today,” Imperioli wrote. Imperioli played Christopher Moltisanti on the lauded series. “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.”

While Sirico was most known for his time on the HBO drama starring the late James Gandolfini, his additional credits include “White Hot,” “Goodfellas” and “Family Guy.”

According to a Facebook post by his brother Father Robert Sirico, he is survived by his two children, Joanne Sirico Bello and Richard Sirico, plus “grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews and many other relatives.”

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