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James Gandolfini: Watch The Sopranos Star Accept His First Emmy

James Gandolfini, Emmy 2000 LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images

It's incredibly hard to believe that James Gandolfini is gone.

Family, friends, colleagues and fans are mourning the actor after he died suddenly today while on vacation in Rome. He was 51.

The Sopranos creator David Chase remembered his long-time muse as a "genius" and "one of the greatest actors of this or any time"—monikers that many can agree with, largely due to Gandolfini's now-iconic performance as Tony Soprano in Chase's groundbreaking HBO series.

PHOTOS: James Gandolfini: A life in pictures

It was nearly 13 years ago that Gandolfini accepted what would be his first of three Emmys for playing Tony, a moment seemed to surprise the man of the hour far more than it threw anyone else.

"I can't really explain this except for I think the Academy has an affinity for slightly overweight bald men, looking at the last few years—excuse me, Mr. Franz, I'm sorry," the beaming actor said, giving a nod to fellow nominee Dennis Franz, who had won his fourth Emmy for NYPD Blue the previous year.

Watch his whole touching speech right here:

PHOTOS: James Gandolfini's biggest roles

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