Photos of Big Ang Raiola on her deathbed have hit the internet, with the niece if the Mob Wives star sharing touching photos taken just hours before her death.
The larger-than-life reality television star, whose real name was Angela Raiola, died in the early morning hours on Thursday, CNN reported. She was surrounded by family members, many of whom have shared messages about her peaceful passing.
Big Ang’s nieces went one step further, sharing pictures from her final hours. Jeannie Detore and Sonnie Detore gave fans a glimpse of Big Ang on her deathbed, with loving family members holding her hand and praying over her.
The two added a message remembering what Big Ang meant to them.
“You are our beautiful angel that is bigger than life. I will never encounter another human being so selfless like you. You’re one of a kind. Even on your worst days, you always wanted to know how I was doing or feeling. I know you will give me the strength to fulfill one of your wishes that you were begging for. You weren’t just an aunt to me, you were my big sister, my best friend, and a role model.”
Big Ang’s death brought remembrances from other family members, including her estranged husband who stayed by her side in her final hours. Neil Murphy shared a message on Twitter, saying he always loved Angela.
“I will always love you forever please watch over the grandkids I know you will,” Neil tweeted, along with a sweet shot of him and Big Ang together before her health began to decline. Clearly Big Ang was surrounded by love in her last moments.
In an interview on the Dr. Oz Show that aired on Tuesday, Big Ang said she had cut the 43-year-old Murphy out of her life because of his failure to stand by her during her battle with cancer. But those close to Raiola said she had her husband by her side in the final hours, and that the two were never fully split up.
“He’s part of her life,” said Big Ang’s Mob Wives co-star costar and friend Carla Facciolo in an interview with People. “He’s still her husband, you know? I don’t know if they got back together, but to Ang, when she throws somebody off her for a little bit, they’re always back in. She takes in people.”
Big Ang and Neil had appeared on Couple’s Therapy together, taking their troubled marriage public. But Raiola was also known as a peacemaker on the reality show, and quickly became the best-known cast member after her introduction in Season 2, showing a penchant for one-liners and a personality that shined on reality television.
Raiola will now leave behind a large family that includes six grandchildren, including the three-week old Anjolie Scotto.
“She had so many grandkids down the road, and every year there’s a new kid coming. So it’s sad that she missed all of that,” Facciolo says. “Only one, Raquel’s oldest son, little Salvatore, he’s the one who is really going to remember her because the other babies are just babies. They’re so young.”
Though she had been battling stage 4 cancer, Big Ang had appeared to be healthy enough in the past few weeks to attend functions for the show, including the launch party for this season of Mob Wives. Raiola said last year that her cancer diagnosis came as a complete surprise, as she went to the doctor for what she thought was strep throat and instead learned she had stage two throat cancer.
Other pictures of Big Ang on her deathbed surrounded by family can be found here.
[Image via Instagram]