Falcone told Us Weekly exclusively, "Everybody in the area loved her. Every neighbor in Staten Island loves her… I think everybody had the same feelings for her. Even strangers… Like, she would just give you the shirt off her back."
Falcone, who works at the bar Raiola used to won, says her friend was "always a star" who used to attract attention long before reality TV fame.
"She always had different haircuts. Different hairstyles. Always well-dressed. And her children were always dressed to the nines."
Another friend, Janine Detore, told Us that Big Ang was at peace when she died. "She was okay with it. She said she didn't want to live being on the medicine, doing all that. She didn't want to do that. And she said, 'If it's my time, it's my time. Just tell me. I want to spend my time with the grandchildren and with my family.'"
Raiola will be laid to rest this weekend on Staten Island.