John Costelloe (right) in the The Sopranos

The actor who played the gay lover of a gangster on the hit show The Sopranos has been found dead in an apparent suicide.

According to police, 47-year-old John Costelloe shot himself in the basement of his Brooklyn, New York City, home on 16 December.

Costelloe was a former fire-fighter who became famous thanks to his role as Jim “Johnny Cakes” Witowski in the award winning series.

His character was romantically involved with closeted gay gangster Vito Spatafore – played by Joseph Gannascoli.

Speaking to the New York Post, Gannascoli said: “I was shocked when I heard, and it still hasn’t really sunk in. I never detected anything troubling about him. I enjoyed all the time I ever spent with him.”

At the time of his death, Costelloe was in the middle of a production of the play Gang of Seven, for which he had received glowing reviews for his role as a hustler.

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