Sad news. Big Ang, the breakout star of hit VH1 reality series Mob Wives, has died. Ang, whose real name is Angela Raiola, had been battling stage IV lung and brain cancer for the past year. Her friend Vinnie Medugno confirmed via the star's Twitter account, on behalf of her family. She was 55.
"It is with sad regret that we inform you that at 3:01 a.m. Angela Raiola peacefully ended her battle with cancer, and was called home," the message on Twitter reads. "She was surrounded by nothing but love from her immediate family, and closest friends. YOU, (Her fans) were some of the most special people in the world, and she loved you immensely."
Raiola's battle with cancer began last March when doctors found a lemon-sized tumor in her throat and diagnosed her with throat cancer. After two surgeries to remove the tumor, she was celebrating remission when doctors discovered the cancer had spread to her lungs and brain.
Nicknamed Big Ang for her 6-foot frame, Raiola quickly became a fan favorite on Mob Wives when the show first aired in 2012. The Staten Island bar owner was connected to the mob world though her uncle, the late Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi, a reputed captain of the Genovese crime family.
Raiola is survived by her sister, Janine, her two children, Raquel and Anthony Donfrio, and six grandchildren. She split from her husband, Neil Murphy, 38, last year, admitting in an interview with Dr. Oz that she felt he wasn't "stepping up to the plate" following her diagnosis.
Watch one of Big Ang's Mob Wives co-stars talk on her love for the now-departed reality favorite on The Real, below:
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