brightcove.createExperiences(); Angela “Big Ang” Raiola‘s family took to social media to post pictures and heartfelt tributes dedicated to the late VH1 star in her final hours.
Raiola’s sister Janine Detore, who has long been her supporter, commemorated her on Instagram on Thursday, just hours after Raiola died after a difficult battle with throat, lung and brain cancer. Raiola was 55.
“At 3:01 [a.m.] my beautiful sister got her wings she’s with our mom & dad,” Detore captioned a picture of Raiola standing in front of their parents’ tombstones. “We would like to thank everyone for your prayers and support … #myfriend #mysister till we meet again my love.”
Detore’s daughters Jeannie and Sonnie also took to Instagram, sharing pictures of the family rallying around Raiola in her hospital bed.
“You have my heart forever. I was so scared to come see you. Three weeks I waited. Oh I regret that so much,” Sonnie wrote. “I miss your voice and your smile and your beautiful brown eyes. Even bald you were a star. You were in the room when I was born and from that day on you became my second mommy. When I seen you laying in the hospital bed my heart broke in half. You were strong and i always loved that about you. When life gets tough you get tougher. When I was a baby I would sleep at your house for days at a time. I wish I could do that now come over and just lay with you. Watch lifetime movies like we used to. All the great memories we have will never be forgotten you are permanently in my heart. You are my inspiration to keep working and fighting. I’m so lucky to have gone to Florida with you, me, Raquel, and baby sal. I will never forget how you would smile, I love that smile. You were the best auntie ever. Rest peacefully my auntie. I will always be your bunny.”
“And that’s where you’ll always find us … Right by your side,” Jeannie captioned a picture of the group gathering around Raiola in her hospital room. “You are our beautiful angel that is bigger than life. I will never encounter another human being so selfless like you. You’re one of a kind. Even on your worst days, you always wanted to know how I was doing or feeling. I know you will give me the strength to fulfill one of your wishes that you were begging for. You weren’t just an aunt to me, you were my big sister, my best friend, and a role model. A week ago you texted me that we needed to go to bora bora,I don’t care if I go all by myself because I know you’ll be right by my side. I love you more than you’ll ever know. My heart is broken, but I know you’re in peace now my biggest best angel … I miss you already. I miss how we would goof off together, shop together, or gang up on my mom when she didn’t agree with us! I miss every single thing about you.”
Jeannie also posted a throwback picture of herself celebrating what appears to be a birthday with Raiola, writing: All the memories we shared with you can last a lifetime.”
Before Raiola died, both Detore sisters posted pictures of themselves holding Raiola’s hands, with Jeannie urging her to: “Keep fighting my love.”
Janine has played an active role in Raiola’s health battle, most recently creating a GoFundMe page seeking $25,000 for alternative cures earlier this month when Raiola’s treatments weren’t working. The GoFundMe ended up raising $45,858.
On Tuesday’s episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Raiola said Janine drove her to every chemotherapy appointment.
“We stick together like Velcro,” Janine said.
In additions to her family and friends, the late Mob Wives star was with her estranged husband Neil Murphy in her final hours.
“He’s part of her life,” Mob Wives star Carla Facciolo told PEOPLE Thursday. “He’s still her husband, you know? I don’t know if they got back together, but to Ang, when she throws somebody off her for a little bit, they’re always back in. She takes in people.”
Raiola is also survived by her two children and six grandchildren.
“She had so many grandkids down the road, and every year there’s a new kid coming. So it’s sad that she missed all of that,” Facciolo said. “Only one, Raquel’s oldest son, little Salvatore, he’s the one who is really going to remember her because the other babies are just babies. They’re so young.”