"I'm absolutely shattered," Dickinson says of her friend

By Patrick Gomez
Updated February 18, 2016 04:00 PM
Credit: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage; Esther Horvath/FilmMagic

brightcove.createExperiences(); Millions knew Angela “Big Ang” Raiola as a reality star, but Janice Dickinson knew her as simply “an extremely wonderful woman and friend.”

“I’m absolutely shattered, Dickinson tells PEOPLE of her Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn costar, who lost her battle with stage 4 cancer on Thursday. “She was a rock for me. I only knew her for a short time but we bonded so quickly. We would talk about aging and beauty and children.”

Dickinson, 61, says she will remember fondly how much Raiola’s family meant to the Mob Wives star.

“She was so proud of her grandchildren and so proud of her relationships with her friends and her husband Neil. It is a sad day for the world. She was remarkable.”

The former model says she spoke to Raiola just a couple weeks before her death. Raiola had been declared healthy last October, but Dickinson believes the 55-year-old knew her recent relapse was likely the end.

“She knew. She knew. She knew but she didn’t let on. I called her a couple of weeks ago just because I thought of her and I said, ‘How you doing?’ And she said, with that voice of hers, ‘Eh. It’s all good, Jan. You know? It’s all good,” Dickinson recalls.

“She was legendary,” she continues about Raiola. “There will never be another Ang. She was an original. She was funny and sexy. And to the end, her nails and hair had to be perfect. And when she chopped off her hair recently, she looked even more beautiful. She had confidence. There are very few people who can tap into that ‘it factor’ and she was one of them.”

“She was without jealously, adds Dickinson. “She was just light. She was an extremely wonderful woman who will be really, really f—ing missed. But she will live forever in my heart and the hearts of anyone who ever met that beautiful woman.”