Entertainment TV 'The Sopranos' Actor Tony Sirico Dead at 79: 'Truly Irreplaceable' "Tony was like no one else: he was as tough, as loyal and as big hearted as anyone i've ever known," Tony Sirico's The Sopranos costar Michael Imperioli wrote of the late actor By Charmaine Patterson Charmaine Patterson Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on July 8, 2022 08:05 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage Tony Sirico, known for playing Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri on The Sopranos, has died. He was 79. Sirico died Friday; his cause of death is not known. His brother, Robert Sirico, announced the news of his death in a Facebook post Friday. "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 wishes to inform you of his death on the morning of July 8, 2022." He added, "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." His manager Bob McGowan tells PEOPLE in a statement, "He was a very loyal client of 25 years. He always supported charities. He was an ex army vet and member of the wounded warriors." Everett Here's Everything The Sopranos Cast and David Chase Have Said About the Heavily-Debated Final Scene Known for his role as Paulie 'Walnuts' Gualtieri in the long-running HBO crime drama, Sirico was recognized by his Sopranos costar Michael Imperioli in a touching tribute on Instagram. "It pains me to say that my dear friend, colleague and partner in crime, the great TONY SIRICO has passed away today," he wrote alongside a photo of him and Sirico. "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." RELATED VIDEO: Lorraine Bracco Remembers 'The Sopranos' James Gandolfini: 'Anything Was a Party...with Jimmy' Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti, remembered sharing "a lot of laughs" with Sirico, adding, "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." Imperioli went on to say he "will miss" Sirico "forever," calling him "truly irreplaceable." "I send love to his family, friends and his many many fans. He was beloved and will never be forgotten. Heartbroken today. #thesopranos #hbo #tonysirico #pauliewalnuts," he conluded. Sopranos actress Lorraine Bracco also shared heartfelt words about Sirico, along with sweet photos of them together. Edie Falco Likens Acting with 'Soulmate' James Gandolfini to 'Two Kids Playing in the Sandbox' "I adore Tony Sirico," she tweeted. "A stand up guy who always had my back and who loved my children and my parents." Reflecting on her "lifetime of memories with Tony" from Goodfellas to Sopranos "and way beyond," Bracco shared one moment with Sirico that she's especially fond of. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. "My God, did we have fun doing the Bensonhurt Spelling Bee (I'm still laughing). I hope he's in heaven cracking everybody up now. Love you, my Pal... rest in peace." Jamie-Lynn Sigler said she is "so heartbroken" over the loss in a tribute message posted with photos of moments they've shared over the years. " I loved you so much. I have never been able to walk into a room that you were in without you giving me an enormous hug, drenching me in your cologne, and making sure I knew any man that came near me would have to answer to you first," added Sigler, who portrayed Meadow Soprano in the series. She praised him for being "SUCH a phenomenal actor" and "Stealing every scene you were in." "You were tough, and strong, yet sweet and a real artist. There will never ever be anyone like you. I feel so lucky to have known you and been loved by you. ❤️❤️💔" Sirico is survived by his two children, Joanne Sirico Bello and Richard Sirico, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews and other relatives, according to his brother. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated by his brother, Fr. Robert Sirico, at the Basilica of Regina Pacis on July 13.