Angela “Big Ang” Raiola from the reality TV series “Mob Wives” has died following a nearly yearlong battle with cancer.
Series producer Jennifer Graziano says Raiola died early Thursday at a New York City hospital while surrounded by family and friends.
— Angela Raiola (@biggangVH1) February 18, 2016
She had been diagnosed in March 2015 with throat cancer that spread to her brain and lungs.
Even as she fought the disease, the native New Yorker remained the candid, colorful figure that viewers came to know on VH1’s “Mob Wives” and Raiola’s two sequels.
In a tearful interview that aired this week on "The Dr. Oz Show" Raiola said her family was her support and her reason to keep living.
"I look at my kids and my grandchildren and I know how much they need me," Raiola told Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the syndicated TV series.
The mother of two and grandmother of six underwent several surgeries since she was diagnosed last year with throat and lung cancer.
She said she was twice declared cancer-free, only to see it return and spread. Radiation and chemotherapy failed to check it. Her doctors were switching to what Oz called an advanced approach aimed at boosting her body's immune system.
Raiola was the niece of the late Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi, who was a reputed captain of the Genovese crime family. After gaining celebrity on "Mob Wives," Raiola got her own spinoff series, "Big Ang" and "Miami Monkey."
A cigarette smoker for 40 years, she said she stopped immediately after her first cancer diagnosis last March. Her doctors told her the disease was "positively" caused by smoking, she said, and she called for people to quit the habit or resist picking it up.
Funeral arrangements are pending.