Mob Wives star Angela “Big Ang” Raiola died early Thursday morning at age 55. The news was confirmed via her Twitter page by New York DJ and host Vinnie Medugno.
“It is with sad regret that we inform you that at 3:01 a.m. Angelia Raiola peacefully ended her battle with cancer, and was called home,” wrote Medugno. “She was surrounded by nothing but love from her immediate family, and the closest friends. YOU, (her fans) were some of the most special people in the world, and she loved you immensely. Thank you for your love, prayers, and unconditional support of Angela right to the very end. She truly went out richer than any monetary value could amount to. The family asks for privacy, and peace, during this most difficult time. In typical Big Ang fashion, we know she would say, ‘Love you my babies!'” According to the note, Raiola’s Twitter page will remain active as a memorial to the late reality star.
Late Wednesday, rumors surfaced online that Raiola had died, but the news was quickly denied by her representatives. “The news that has been reported is TOTALLY INACCURATE,” read a note on Raiola’s Twitter feed. “Please respect her family, and their privacy at this time. … Angela is still in the hospital surrounded by her loved ones, and is fighting.”
Raiola, who rose to fame on the VH1 series, was diagnosed with cancer in March of last year, and was hospitalized with Stage 4 lung and brain cancer in January. (A GoFundMe page was set up by Raiola’s sister to help with payment for the treatments.)
Nicknamed “Big Ang,” Raiola was the niece of Salvatore “Sally Dogs” Lombardi, a captain in New York’s Genovese crime family who died in prison in 2009. She first appeared on Mob Wives in season 2, and was later part of two spin-off series: Big Ang and Miami Monkey.
Earlier this week, Raiola announced she had split from husband Neil Murphy. “I felt like he never stepped up to the plate, so I was done with it,” she said in an interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz. “Now, it’s too late. I would rather be by myself. I would rather be alone.”
Raiola is survived by two children and six grandchildren. For more on her life, head to PEOPLE.