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Gary Bimonte, co-owner of Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria, has died

In a statement, his relatives said he ‘was the pride and joy of the Pepe’s family’

Jennifer Kelly (left), City of Newton Mayor Setti Warren (center), and Gary Bimonte (right) celebrating the grand opening of Frank Pepe of Chestnut Hill in 2016.
Jennifer Kelly (left), City of Newton Mayor Setti Warren (center), and Gary Bimonte (right) celebrating the grand opening of Frank Pepe of Chestnut Hill in 2016.handout

The world of pizza is a little less whole.

Gary Bimonte, co-owner of the famous Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, has died, according to a family statement issued on the Pepe’s website. The New Haven Independent reported that he died Wednesday night after suffering a heart attack.

“It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of our brother, Gary Bimonte,” the statement read. “Gary was a wonderful brother, son, uncle, and friend to so many, and he was loved by all of us. [He] was the pride and joy of the Pepe’s family, and there are no words to express the immense void that his passing has left in our hearts.”

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Bimonte inherited the beloved New Haven, Conn., pizzeria from his grandfather, Frank Pepe. The restaurant now operates a dozen locations in Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts. The original New Haven location closed for business on Thursday so the family could mourn Bimonte, a @pepespizzeria tweet said.

New Haven mayor Justin Elicker and US Senator Richard Blumenthal remembered Bimonte in heartfelt tweets Thursday.

“Sad to learn of Gary Bimonte’s passing,” Blumenthal wrote. “When you think of pizza, you think of Pepe’s. My thoughts are with his family during this difficult time. Thank you, Gary, for many great slices & memories.”

Several longtime customers also paid tribute to Bimonte in tweets and statements.

Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_.