Flags will fly at half staff Monday on official buildings in New Jersey as a mark of respect for "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, a native of the northeastern US state, officials said.

In an executive order issued Friday, Governor Chris Christie said the symbolic move served "to recognize the achievements and contributions of James Gandolfini," who died in Rome on Wednesday.

Gandolfini "was an iconic actor and will be remembered for the timeless impact he left upon television and film in the State of New Jersey and across our nation," Christie wrote.

The actor, who died of a heart attack aged 51, was born in Westwood, 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of New York, went to local schools and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the state's Rutgers University.

Christie said Gandolfini "enjoyed an extraordinarily successful acting career across television, film and Broadway, including his popularly acclaimed role as Tony Soprano in 'The Sopranos.'"

He also advocated for US military service members and veterans in two documentaries, "Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq" (2007) and "Wartorn: 1861-2010" (2010).

[Image: Actor James Gandolfini via Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com]