WEST BRIGHTON, Staten Island – There was never a dull moment for larger-than-life TV star Angela "Big Ang" Raiola.
The Brooklyn-born, self-described diva was a breakout star of VH1's "Mob Wives" who never made excuses for making a splash.
In the past year, things have slowed down for Raiola after she was diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent numerous surgeries until she was cancer free. That all changed a couple of months ago when the cancer returned, spreading to her brains and lungs.
The 55-year-old gave her final interview to Dr. Oz last month, blaming cigarettes for her demise.
"I try to stay positive," Raiola said. "I look at my kids and my grandchildren and how much they need me."
Thursday morning, Raiola lost her battle with her cancer as her friends and family confirmed the news on social media, revealing she was surrounded by nothing but love.
While she was known for her big personality on TV, Big Ang was known for one thing in her neighborhood of West Brighton: her big heart.
Forest Bagels on Forest Avenue was a regular pitstop for Raiola.
"It was a big shock for me," the clerk inside said. "She was a very nice lady."
"She always donated a lot of toys and gifts to the kids for the holidays," a local resident said. "She made special events for them. She was a good person all-around."
Raiola remained down-to-earth and never refused a selfie.
"She's not what she's portrayed to be on Mob Wives to be," another resident said. "I know we get a bad rap here but she was a incredibly kind, good person."