"Sopranos" star James Gandolfini's death last week devastated many people, including admiring co-stars like Kristen Stewart.
The "Twilight" actress appeared with Gandolfini in the 2010 indie "Welcome to the Rileys." She played a troubled teen prostitute who's taken under the wing of a grieving father, played by Gandolfini.
The 51-year-old Emmy-winning actor passed away June 19 in Italy after a heart attack. With his funeral set for Thursday, Stewart is finally speaking out about her reaction to her co-star's death.
[Related: James Gandolfini's 20 Best Roles]
"When I heard of James' passing, I was in New Orleans, where we met shooting, and every memory flooded back and gutted me," she said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.
"I'll hold that time near to me forever. He was immeasurably great. My heart goes out to his beloved family."
The two bonded over a shared aversion to the spotlight, as well as being famous for an iconic role — he for Tony Soprano, she for Bella Swan.
"Jim was… the sh-t," she told USA Today. "He's quiet. We got along well because we let it happen the way it's supposed to. It was very organic, very cool."
Watch them together in a scene from "Welcome to the Rileys":
Meanwhile, Gandolfini praised Stewart's attempt to break out of her "Twilight" mold. "Kristen Stewart is one of the mad ones. But mad in a beautiful way," he wrote in Variety about her performance in "On the Road."
Gandolfini's funeral will take place at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York. An invitation-only viewing is set for Wednesday night at a funeral home in Park Ridge, New Jersey, near where he grew up.
Broadway marquees will dim their lights at 8 PM Wednesday evening in tribute to the actor. Gandolfini was a highly-respected theater actor who was nominated for a Tony for his performance in "God of Carnage."
The outpouring of grief from Gandolfini's friends, fans, and co-workers has been overwhelming. "Sopranos" creator David Chase hailed him as "one of the greatest actors of this or any time."
"I consider myself very lucky to have spent 10 years as his close colleague," said Edie Falco, Gandolfini's on-screen wife. And Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played Tony's daughter, was "heartbroken" by the news and said she was "so honored that I was an up-close witness to his greatness."
- Death & Funeral
- Kristen Stewart
- Tony Soprano