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Mary Valastro (1948 - 2017)

Instagram / Buddy Valastro

Mary Valastro (1948 - 2017)

Mary Valastro, the mother of “Cake Boss” reality television star Buddy Valastro, died Thursday morning, June 22, 2017, according to her son. She was 69.

Buddy Valastro announced his mother’s death, posting a photograph of him kissing his mother on his Instagram account. She had Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“It’s with an extremely heavy heart that I must share the news of my mother’s passing,” he wrote in the caption. “She left for heaven this morning, surrounded by the family.

“This is a difficult time for all of us,” he continued, “and I do ask for your patience and respect while we let this sink in. Her battle with ALS has ended, she is no longer suffering and I hope she’s dancing to ‘I Will Survive’ with my dad right now.”


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Mary Valastro, also known as Momma on the show, was born April 17, 1948, in Altamura, Italy. After immigrating to the United States, she and her late husband, Buddy Valastro Sr., bought Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1964. When Buddy Sr. died in 1994, Mary Valastro decided against selling the business, opting instead to keep it in the family.

“Cake Boss,” the reality TV series that airs on the cable TV network TLC, centers on the family-run business now owned and operated by Buddy Valastro, the boss of the shop – hence the show’s name – and his brothers and sisters. The show focuses on how the family members make artisanal cakes and the ways that they interact from day to day.

Although Buddy was his mother’s No. 1 fan on the show, she also was his biggest critic, which was part of the show’s popularity. “Cake Boss,” which first aired in April 2009, has continued through eight seasons.

Mary Valastro was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2013. Also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, it is a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells that control muscles throughout the body. It became known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the star baseball player was diagnosed in 1939.

After her diagnosis, Valasco stepped back from the family business, in part to spend time with her 14 grandchildren.

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