The majority of individuals lead quiet, unassuming lives, but you can’t help but run into those people with outsized personalities. One such individual was Angela Raiola.


You might recall Angela from her unforgettable portrayal of "Big Ang" in the VH1 series "Mob Wives." Tragically, this vibrant entertainer passed away at a relatively young age of 55 after a hard-fought battle against cancer. In her last interview before her untimely death in 2016, Angela divulged a regrettable truth and warned others not to repeat her mistake.

Angela "Big Ang" Raiola first appeared on the reality TV scene in 2012, instantly capturing the audience's attention with her gravelly voice and forthright demeanor. Her stint on "Mob Wives" from 2012 to 2016 saw her rise to fame, primarily because of her larger-than-life personality, which was delightfully entertaining.

Despite her brash exterior, those who knew her well spoke of her kindness and her uncanny ability to connect with those around her. With her passing on February 18, 2016, the world lost more than a popular reality TV personality. She also left behind a void in the lives of her sons and grandchildren.

Angela, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, was also the niece of the late Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi, a prominent figure in the infamous Genovese crime family. Despite a brush with the law in 2001, resulting in a three-year probation sentence, she strived to support her family, showing resilience and strength.

During her probation, Angela was required to wear an ankle monitor and remain under house arrest for four months, a severe punishment for someone with her lively spirit. Yet, she found ways to make her confinement more bearable, as revealed in her book "Bigger Is Better."

Raiola's rise to fame on "Mob Wives" in 2012 was meteoric. Set in Staten Island, the reality TV show focused on the lives of women with connections to the Mafia. While reviews varied, Angela's charismatic presence ensured she left a lasting impression on viewers.

Her popularity resulted in spin-offs, including "Big Ang" in 2012 and "Miami Monkey" in 2013. Angela, a self-confessed fan of plastic surgery, was always candid about her physical transformations. However, these aesthetic changes were overshadowed by her health issues when, in 2015, she was diagnosed with stage 4 brain and lung cancer.

Throughout her health struggle, Angela remained resilient, continuing her appearances on "Mob Wives" despite evident pain. In 2016, during an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, she made the surprising revelation of separating from her husband amid her fight against cancer.

In the same interview, which would be her last public conversation, Angela shared her fear of death and used the platform to warn viewers against a habit she believed had cost her life: smoking. She had smoked for over 40 years and, although she quit immediately upon learning of her illness, it was too late.

Angela passed away peacefully on February 18, 2016, at a Manhattan hospital, surrounded by friends and family. Following her death, heartfelt tributes poured in from celebrities, cast members, friends, and family, all remembering her vibrant spirit and endearing authenticity.

Despite the drama that typically comes with reality TV shows, Angela managed to stand out as the most genuine, kind-hearted, and down-to-earth person on "Mob Wives." Her unwavering honesty and the acknowledgment of her past mistakes made her a favorite among viewers. May she rest in peace.