Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro's mother, Mary, died on June 22 after a long battle with ALS. Valastro shared the sad news with his fans with a heartfelt post on his Instagram account.
The TLC star's rep told People magazine that Mary was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, eight years ago. Her condition got worse over the past few months, so her death was not sudden, but still hit the family hard. All five of Mary's children, including Buddy, were by her side when she passed away on Thursday morning.
Valastro, 40, paid tribute to his mother by sharing a beautiful photo on Instagram of the 69-year-old, who often appeared on the popular TLC show, Cake Boss. In the post, Buddy confirmed his mother's death, and noted that it is a difficult time for the entire family.
"It's with an extremely heavy heart that I must share the news of my mother's passing," Valastro captioned the Instagram photo below. "She left for heaven this morning, surrounded by the family... her battle with ALS has ended, she is no longer suffering and I hope she's dancing to 'I Will Survive' with my dad right now."According to Us Weekly, Valastro, who owns Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, first spoke out about his mother's illness in 2014 after taking part in an "Ice Bucket Challenge" fundraiser.
ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is also referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Soon after his mother was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease, Valastro formed an organization called the Mama Mary Foundation in an effort to raise money and awareness for people who have been diagnosed with the disease.
According to Newsday, Mary Valastro was born in Italy in 1948. She arrived in the United States with her family in 1954 and lived in Hoboken, New Jersey, until her death.
Mary was 27 when she married Bartolo Valastro in 1965. Her husband purchased Carlo's Bakery right before they married. The couple had five children. Buddy started working at the bakery when he was a teenager and took over the business when his father died in 1994.TLC's Cake Boss is filmed in the now-famous Hoboken, New Jersey, bakery. The series started in April, 2009. Buddy's late mother, Mary Valastro, was a regular on the show until she retired in 2010.
Mary made frequent appearances on Cake Boss after she retired. Her battle was ALS was addressed during a special episode (video below), "A Bittersweet Homecoming," that aired in July, 2012.[Featured Image by John W. Ferguson /Getty Images]