The actor's most successful role to date was portraying Henry in Martin Scorsese's 1990 film based on his life, and said he hopes the former mobster - who died of an undisclosed illness, aged 69 - has finally found peace.

he told "Although I played Henry Hill in the movie 'Goodfellas' I only met him a few short times so I can't say I knew him but, I do know he lived a complicated life.

"My heart goes out to his family and may he finally rest in peace."

Henry had led a wild life, getting involved with the mob in New York at an early age, and being associated with the Lucchese family during the 1970s.

His criminal activities peaked when his gang stole  $5million in a heist at the Lufthansa cargo bay at New York's JKF airport.

Henry made his way up the ranks but was eventually arrested in 1980 and agreed to expose his mafia connections, in return for being placed in a witness protection programme.

A book, 'Wiseguy' about his time in the mafia was written with Nicholas Pileggi, which later went on to become 'Goodfellas'.

Henry was expelled from the protection programme in the early 90s after committing various drug-related crimes.

In recent years he had become a minor celebrity, appearing on radio shows, marketing his own brand of spaghetti sauce and opening a restaurant called Wiseguys.

Here's the trailer for the 1990 movie:

Henry Hill and Ray LiottaGoogle Images