Inked was heartbroken when we heard of Angela "Big Ang" Raiola's passing. The 55-year-old Mob Wives star was diagnosed with throat cancer in April 2015. At that time, doctors removed a lemon-sized tumor from her throat. Six months following that surgery, Big Ang was declared cancer free. Sadly, in December 2015, doctors found Stage 4 cancer in her brain and right lung. In her final interview on the Dr. Oz Show, Ang said she was hysterical when told the news, "I felt like I couldn't hear."
Chemotherapy was not working but the mother and grandmother continued to seek out alternative cures. She told Oz that she was doing all that she could to stay positive and fight the disease. In tears, she said, "I look at my kids and my grandchildren, and I know how much they need me."
Her appearance on Dr. Oz came just two days before she died. At 4:29 am on February 18, a rep for Big Ang broke the news about her passing on Twitter. "At 3:01AM Angela Raiola peacefully ended her battle with cancer, and was called home. She was surrounded by nothing but love from her immediate family, and closest friends." It is said that Mob Wives co-star and long-time friend Drita D'Avanzo was at Ang's side when she passed.
The reality star had a larger-than-life personality, always acting as the peacemaker and unofficially claiming the matriarch role on the VH1 hit show.
Ang had more than 13 tattoos. Some on her feet, others on her neck and wrist—and butt. We knew we loved you, Ang! "Once you get one tattoo, they're like addicting," she said.
To honor Big Ang, we look back on the moment she and her son Anthony "AJ" Donfrio got tattooed together. On this particular visit she got the word "Omertà" tattooed on the back of her neck. "Omertà means code of silence," she said in the clip. "I want AJ to always know that we don't rat. Never will. Never gonna." AJ got a portrait of Mother Mary tattooed on his leg. "In this lifestyle the values are your family," she said. "No ratting. You take everything to the grave."
May you rest in peace, Big Ang.
Watch the clip below.