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Tomorrow, New Jersey governor Chris Christie will commemorate the untimely death of actor James Gandolfini by having government flags lowered to half-mast.
Gandolfini was born in Westwood, NJ in 1961 and grew up in Park Ridge just three miles away.
In 1983 he earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies at Rutgers State University of New Jersey.
This past Wednesday, Gandolfini died of a heart attack while vacationing in Italy with his 13-year-old son.
NJ News reports that Gov. Christie has ordered all government buildings to fly the flag at half-mast on Monday in memory of “the iconic actor who left a timeless impact upon television and film.”
Christie also said of Gandolfini, “All the people in the state really felt a connection to him, not just his character, but to him. He died much, much too young.”
This isn’t the first time Gov. Christie has ordered flags flown at half-mast for a celebrity.
In 2011, flags were at half-mast to commemorate Clarence Clemons, who played saxophone in the iconic E Street Band, reported Rolling Stone.
Christie – a long-time Bruce Springsteen fan – said, “Clarence Clemons represented the soul and spirit of New Jersey…He brought great pride to our state and joy to every fan of this music around the world.”
Then in February 2012, Christie received serious backlash for lowering the flags for legendary songstress Whitney Houston whose funeral service was held in Newark, NJ.
According to CBS News, many thought the honor should only be given to military and elected government officials, but Christie said that Houston was a “daughter of New Jersey” who deserved the honor for having made a cultural impact on the nation and the world.