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Actor Gennaro Anthony “Tony” Sirico Jr., best known for his portrayal of gangster Paul “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri on the groundbreaking series “The Sopranos,” died Friday at the age of 79, his family confirmed via social media.

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According to Rolling Stone, Sirico’s brother, Robert Sirico, confirmed the actor’s death.

“It is with great sadness, but with incredible pride, love and a whole lot of fond memories, that the family of Gennaro Anthony “Tony” Sirico Jr. wish to inform you of his death on the morning of July 8, 2022,” Robert Sirico wrote on Facebook.

A Warner Bros. spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the post to Rolling Stone.

“The family is deeply grateful for the many expressions of love, prayer and condolences and requests that the public respect its privacy in this time of bereavement,” Robert Sirico added.

Sirico’s death was announced just weeks shy of his 80th birthday, Deadline reported.

Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti on “The Sopranos,” called Sirico “truly irreplaceable” in an Instagram tribute to his longtime friend.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CfxLJWSuaYb/

“It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and partner in crime, the great Tony Sirico has passed away today,” Imperioli wrote. “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.”

A Brooklyn native, Sirico was born July 29, 1942, and told Rolling Stone in a 2001 cover story that he found himself drawn to the gangsters he saw operating in his childhood neighborhood.

“They’re all dressed, slicked back, they got cars, they got girls, very enticing,” Sirico told the entertainment news magazine, noting that he “almost got too close to becoming one of those guys I portray” and that he in no way minded being typecast as a wiseguy.

“I’ve paid my rent, I take care of me and Ma,” he said in the 2001 interview.

Actress Lorraine Bracco, who played psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi on “The Sorpranos,” said via Twitter that she “adored” her costar on the HBO series as well as a fellow “Goodfellas” cast member.

“A stand up guy who always had my back and who loved my children and my parents. I have a lifetime of memories with Tony – starting with Goodfellas to The Sopranos and way beyond but my God, did we have fun doing the Bensonhurst Spelling Bee. I hope he’s in heaven cracking everybody up now. Love you, my pal,” Bracco wrote.