Just one short day after asking her fans and followers for prayers for her struggling father, who has been in and out of the hospital on-and-off for the past couple of years, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star confirmed his passing.
“My father, my protector, my hero, God took you early this morning to be with mommy, I saw you peacefully pass & I know you kept fighting for my daughters and I,” Teresa began in a tribute video for her dad.
“I have so many amazing thoughts of you, every day seeing you in the kitchen at my home, teaching my girls to cook, my partner in crime on shopping trips, your love of the shore & my travel buddy. You always wanted everyone to have a good time, eat great food, have a stiff drink and enjoy life,” she continued. “You are the absolute strongest man I know & I know you missed mommy so much but you stayed for us. Thank you for being the best husband, father & Nonno. Your devotion to mommy was one for the record books, you were the true example and a gentleman and devoted husband. You visited mommy every single day & would go twice for the days you missed while traveling or if you were to sick to go, my silver lining is knowing you’ll be together now.
“Thank you for showing us all what true love is. Love you Papa Rest In Peace,” she added.
Giacinto was 76.
Immediately after Teresa’s heartbreaking tribute, the longtime reality star was flooded with kind words from her many fans and followers and several of her RHONJ co-stars.
“Reunited with his love,” former cast member Dina Manzo wrote. “What a truly remarkable love story. We will miss seeing your bright smile Nonno.”
“I’m so so sorry for your loss!” Jennifer Aydin shared. “He was such a sweet ball of love. I’m praying for you and the girls. I’m here for you- when you’re ready.”
“Sending all our love and prayers for your beautiful family,” Margaret Josephs said. “I know he is reunited wit his love your mother.”
“Such an amazing man. So sorry Teresa. Will be praying for you and the Family,” Frank Catania commented.
“Sending love and strength to your beautiful family. My heart is with you today,” added Jackie Goldschneider.
Teresa’s estranged husband, Joe Giudice, also spoke out with a beautiful “thank you” note to his father-in-law.
“Thank you for setting an example for us and my girls-you’re an exemplary example. We benefited from it every day,” Joe wrote. “Thank you for being a guiding light—your experiences and knowledge helped us navigate day-to-day challenges. Thank you for cooking at family holiday dinners—I cherish the times we all sat around the table together playing cards and listening to your remembrances of thanks. Thank you for your wit—your daughter got the best of that.”
Around the same time, Teresa’s younger brother said he couldn’t believe his father had passed.
“I can’t believe he is gone. The world lost an amazing man human being today,” he told his online followers. “He was exactly what a true father and husband should be. I will miss you more than you know, But go find your wife because I know that’s all you want and all you’ve ever talked about for the past 3 years. You will be missed every single day. You had energy that lit up a room and everyone fell in love with you. You were truly one of a kind. I’m so happy you’re in no more pain. Rest In Peace Finally 4-3-20.”
With a slideshow of photos of herself, husband Joe and Giacinto, and her kids, Melissa Gorga offered her own statement.
“Heaven just got another angel,” she announced. “You’ve been the only Dad I’ve known for the past 16 years. You were such an incredible man and such a loving Nonno.. they don’t make them like you anymore. Thank you for teaching my husband how to treat his wife the way you treated yours. Thank you for teaching me how to cook everything I make. Thank you for all the energy you’ve always brought everywhere you went. Run to your wife. She’s waiting for you. RIP we will miss you forever.
While the cause of death is not yet known, Giacinto was known to have regular bouts with pneumonia.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Friday, Teresa’s attorney, James J. Leonard, said, “Everyone is devastated. He was such a kind-hearted and loving man. He will be greatly missed by all of those who were fortunate to know him, but especially his children and grandchildren who absolutely adored him.”
Teresa’s mom, Antonia Gorga, died in 2017 at the age of 66 from pneumonia.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Giudices and the Gorgas during this difficult time.