Arguably one of the greatest actors of our time died on last Thursday. James Gandolfini was an acquaintance of mine. Larger than life, he created characters that were real and wasn't afraid to show himself -- warts and all.
The death of any young person -- particularly from potentially-preventable causes -- is a tragedy. And events like this, because of their notoriety and widespread media coverage, have the opportunity to spur change.
The idea that a heart attack is "natural" for a man of only 51 is a dangerous fallacy that medicine has tried very hard to dispel. A heart attack is a disease state caused by specific circumstances, and it needs to -- and can -- be prevented.
I've always felt one of the most underrated aspects of Tony Soprano's universal appeal was the fact that he looked like the guy next door, the little league umpire, not Luke Skywalker or The Man of Steel. Tony Soprano looked like me.