Mario Batali Honors ‘Oldest, Dearest Friend’ James Gandolfini

Image credit: Rutgers University

Last evening, legendary actor James Gandolfini passed away suddenly at the age of 51 in Italy. Among the thousands of people who paid tribute to the Sopranos star was a chef who knew Gandolfini better than most: Mario Batali.

“I am totally shocked and devastated by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends,” Batali, who was Gandolfini’s roommate at Rutgers University, said in a statement. “I only hope to help his family any way I can in their grief and mourning.”

The two of them became close friends at Rutgers and were inducted into the University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2004.

[h/t New Jersey Star-Ledger]

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