Angela Raiola, better known by Big Ang by her loved ones, debuted on Mob Wives in Season 2. Even though she wasn’t a Mob Wives star from the beginning, her fans quickly professed their admiration for the reality TV star. It became apparent when it was reported she had cancer. Her fans were sure their favorite Mob Wives star would pull through and beat cancer–for good. After all, Raiola had beat the disease twice last year. This time, she wasn’t so lucky– Angela Raiola lost her battle with cancer on February 18.
Big Ang became the voice of reason and often resolved arguments between the ladies–usually Drita D’Avanzo and Karen Gravano. She had a no-nonsense attitude and was quick to say she was sorry if she offended anyone. Her smile and laugh were downright contagious, and when in her presence, you just wanted to hug her. It’s easy to see why Big Ang was and always will be remembered fondly by the Mob Wives cast and crew.
In the series finale, Big Ang was in her final stage of her cancer battle and appeared fragile and scared for what was to come as the disease took hold of her body. Angela explained according to People that she vowed to fight cancer or die to try to beat the disease.
“I f***ing hate cancer. They say it kicks the s*** out of you. I gotta kick the s*** out of it. But I don’t know if I could. This might be a rough one. I got rid of everything unnecessary in my life. Neil and bulls*** drama are the first things to go. The doctor said I’m not allowed to have any stress, and all he does is stress me out.”
Mob Wives show creator, Jennifer Graziano said the final episodes were hard to watch, especially after Raiola passed away. Jennifer explained that watching her so hopeful that she could beat cancer is heartwrenching to see. Graziano noted her scenes with her daughter and about Neil Murphy were especially painful to watch.
Big Ang plays with her granddaughter while talking to her daughter in one of the scenes. Raiola tells her that she will be leaving Neil, and cannot let him move back in. Angela has to remove the stress and unneeded drama. Angela’s daughter asks her if she will get a new boyfriend to fill that void in her life. Big Ang made a joke saying she is done with men for good–and just wants to be able to spend time with her grandkids–while covering her face, so the camera didn’t see a tear in her eyes.
On the series finale, Big Ang leaves Neil and begins to focus on her health and cancer battle. Jennifer doesn’t think that she didn’t love Neil, because the love between them was obvious. Graziano noted that she thought Angela wanted to separate him from her terrible fate and wanted him to remember her as a beautiful and capable woman. It seems like Big Ang knew that she could die and wanted to protect everyone–her kids and Neil especially–from seeing her at her worst.
“I think the anxiety of her illness and what she was going through, every little – you always find that person where every little thing bothers you.I think he was the one, and ultimately at the end, when she realized that she was really sick, she felt like she needed him.”
Neil was there when Big Ang died–in fact, it was (falsely) reported they were estranged when she passed away. Jennifer wanted to clear up the rumors and stated he never left her side after the doctor’s told them that the end was near. He was grief-stricken as he struggled to be there for Ang and deal with the incredible loss of his wife. Jennifer Graziano explained that despite the rumors, Big Ang adored Neil and loved him very much. He was there for her through her cancer battle, and only missed a handful of appointments.
IB Times reports VH1 will air a Big Ang tribute, Larger Than Life: A Celebration of Big Ang, after the series finale of Mob Wives at 9 p.m. Come back to the Inquisitr for more Mob Wives spoilers, news, and updates!
[Photo by Rommel Demano/Getty Images]