Angela Raiola, known as "Big Ang", died early Thursday morning after a long battle with cancer
, her friend, Vinnie Medugno, confirmed on the Mob Wives
star's official Twitter account. She was 55.
"It is with sad regret that at 3:01 a.m., Angela Raiola peacefully ended her battle with cancer, and was called home," Medugno wrote on behalf of Big Ang's family. "She was surrounded by nothing but love from her immediate family and closest friends. YOU (her fans) were some of the most special people in her world, and she loved you immensely."
The message goes on to express gratitude for all the support the reality star received while ill. "Thank you for your love, prayers and unconditional support of Angela right up to the very end," Medugno wrote. "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."
Paying tribute to Raiola, her friend added, "In typical Big Ang fashion, we know she would say, 'Love you my babies!'"
In a statement to ET, Mob Wives creator Jennifer Graziano also confirmed the news of Raiola's death and asked that her family and friends to be allowed to mourn in private.
"I am saddened to say that at 3:01 am Ang lost her battle with cancer," Graziano said. "She passed peacefully surrounded by friends and family. My heart is broken for her whole family -- especially her children and grandchildren and I will never forget her. Her presence brought sheer happiness to anyone that was around her and I am honored to have called her a friend. Please respect her family's privacy at this time as they mourn the loss of such an amazing woman."
In December, ET confirmed that Raiola's throat cancer had returned.
Several months earlier, in March 2015, a lemon-size tumor was discovered and removed from her throat. Later in June, she underwent the same procedure for the right side of her throat as well. She was later diagnosed with stage 4 brain and lung cancer.
In February, Raiola's family set up a GoFundMe page
to help with her doctor fees, raising over $45,000 in two weeks.
Raiola also revealed on The Dr. Oz Show
that she had left her husband
, Neil Murphy, as she continued her cancer battle. "I felt like he never stepped up to the plate, so I was done with it," she said. "Now, it's too late. I would rather be by myself. I would rather be alone."
Raiola also expressed gratitude for her children on the program, saying, "If it wasn't for them, how would I get through this?"
In another post to Instagram, Medugno reminded Big Ang fans of the TV star's mantra: "I'm not here for a long time, I'm here for a good time!"