The world became a little darker on Feb. 18, 2016, when Mob Wives star Angela Riola — better known as Big Ang — died at age 55 from lung cancer. This hasn't been easy on her loved ones, especially her former VH1 co-star Drita D'Avanzo, who exclusively opened up to Life & Style about passing the one-year anniversary of her death.
"It was awful. If I talk about it I'll start crying, but I miss her terribly and I feel like life is just not the same," she revealed at Posh Kids and the Lupus Foundation of America's #WalkForACause presentation, presented by Teen Mom 2 star Briana DeJesus and Astra of 92.3 AMP radio. She also added that Ang was her only "real friend" from the original cast, though she often communicates with Brittany Fogarty and Alicia DiMichele.
News of Ang's passing was broken on her Instagram account that day, with a post that read, "It is with sad regret that we inform you that at 3:01 a.m. Angela Raiola peacefully ended her battle with cancer and was called home. She was surrounded by nothing but love from her husband, Neil, her immediate family, and closest friends. YOU, (Her fans) were some of the most special people in her world, and she loved you immensely. Thank you for your love, prayers, and unconditional support of Angela right to the very end. She truly went out richer than any monetary value could ever amount to."
At this point, you can expect to see a lot more of Drita, as she'll be joining Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Jenni "JWOWW" Farley in their Jersey Shore spin-off, Celebrity Shore. She will also star in VH1's Scared Famous, which premieres on Oct. 23 at 9 p.m. EST.
A press release for Sunday's NYC-based event explained, "The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world’s cruelest, most unpredictable, and devastating diseases while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. We envision a life free of lupus. The mission is to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus through programs of research, education, support, and advocacy."
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It is with sad regret that we inform you that at 3:01AM Angela Raiola peacefully ended her battle with cancer, and was called home. She was surrounded by nothing but love from her husband Neil, her immediate family, and closest friends. YOU, (Her fans) were some of the most special people in her world, and she loved you immensely. Thank you for your love, prayers, and unconditional support of Angela right to the very end. She truly went out richer than any monetary value could ever amount to. The family asks for privacy, and peace during this most difficult time. In typical Big Ang fashion, we know she would say "Love you my babies!" This page will remain open as a celebration of who she was and will always be. It has been my esteemed privilege, and honor to represent her in the highest regard via social media. -Vinnie Medugno (@vinniemedugno)
"The Lupus Foundation of America implements programs of research, education, and advocacy in order to help solve the cruel mystery of lupus. The Foundation’s officers, advisors, and staff set goals and agendas to meet the most urgent challenges in lupus research and treatment."
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