Angela Raiola of the VH1 reality TV series Mob Wives has died of throat cancer at the age of 55.
According to the Associated Press, the raspy-voiced, 6-foot reality star known as “Big Ang” died early Thursday, at a New York City hospital.
Series producer, Jennifer Graziano, said Raiola died while surrounded by friends and family.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) February 18, 2016
A statement posted to Raiola’s Twitter account said she had “peacefully ended her battle with cancer.”
“YOU (Her fans) were some of the most special people in her world, and she loved you immensely,” said the statement. “Thank you for your love, prayers, and unconditional support of Angela right to the end.”
— Angela Raiola (@biggangVH1) February 18, 2016
Diagnosed in March 2015 with throat cancer, Raiola saw a quick decline as the cancer spread to her brain and lung.
In September, Raiola told People magazine that she had smoked for over 40 years, but quit the day she learned the tumor in her throat was malignant.
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) February 18, 2016
“It’s hard to just put down the cigarette and never look back,” she said at the time. “I enjoy smoking. I miss it so much. But it’s over. Now I do the e-cigarette. It helps me, just to hold it in my hand.”
Raiola joined Mob Wives during the show’s second season in 2012 and became a fan favorite. Her own spin-off series, Big Ang, premiered later that year.
— Mob Wives (@MobWives) February 16, 2016
According to Fox 411, Raiola’s uncle, Salvatore “Sally Dogs” Lombardi was a captain in New York’s Genovese crime family.
She is survived by her two children and six grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.