UPDATE (6/28) —Heartbroken by the devastating news of his mother's death, Buddy Valastro temporarily closed his bakeries worldwide in memory of his late mother, Mary Valastro.
Mary, who sadly passed away from ALS on June 22, regularly appeared on TLC's Cake Boss until 2012. Commemorating his mother's enduring love and dedication to the family business, Buddy shut down Carlo's Bakery storefronts on June 27. The shops, which included several locations across the U.S. and one in Brazil, are now open and operating with normal hours.
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Recently, fans all over the world have been pouring in their condolences.
"She was a great woman, a fighting mother, loving and incomparable, charismatic like none, but always with a smile that was contagious to all," commented one fan, NahoJ25, on Buddy's original Instagram post. "My condolences to the Valastro family...from Venezuela accompanying them in their pain."
Buddy also took to Instagram to share another tribute to his mother. The image shows a beaming Mary surrounded by members of the Cake Boss family and is captioned with the sweet remark: "Light of our lives."
Our thoughts and prayers remain with Buddy and the rest of his family during this difficult time.
Originally published (6/23) — Our thoughts and prayers are with Buddy Valastro, the star of TLC's Cake Boss, as he deals with the death of a beloved family member.
After a long battle with ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease, Buddy's mom Mary Valastro succumbed to the illness. Buddy confirmed the news on Instagram alongside a heartwarming photo of the duo. It's not hard to tell how devastated Buddy is by the news.
"It’s with an extremely heavy heart that I must share the news of my mother’s passing. She left for heaven this morning, surrounded by the family. This is a difficult time for all of us 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."
It’s with an extremely heavy heart that I must share the news of my mother’s passing. She left for heaven this morning, surrounded by the family. This is a difficult time for all of us 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.
Mary was only 69, but according to a representative for Buddy, her condition had deteriorated quite rapidly these last few months.
“Mary’s condition had been steadily worsening,” the rep said in a statement to PEOPLE. “After eight years of fighting her battle with ALS, the family is relieved she is no longer suffering. Buddy and his sisters are absolutely crushed right now.”
What is ALS?
ALS is a nerve and muscle disorder that in most cases causes an individual to lose control over his or her movements. When the motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain break down, the brain cannot send messages to the limbs, so those who are affected often deal with stiff or weak muscles. They can have trouble speaking or swallowing, and tripping or dropping things may become an issue. Eventually, those who are affected will lose the ability to breathe, and they will need to be put on a breathing machine.
The ice bucket challenge that was popular on social media a few years ago aimed to raise money for ALS research. Buddy took part in that viral challenge, telling PEOPLE how much it meant to him to participate.
“The worst part about ALS is that one day you’re able to brush your teeth, then you’ll never be able to brush your teeth again. One day you’re able to walk—you’re never going to walk again,” he said at the time. “I’ve seen the most independent, lively person that I’ve ever met in my life—I mean, she was just like a ball of energy—reduced to not being able to do anything for herself. And I think that’s the part that kills her the most because she was the matriarch. She did so many things for everyone.”
We can't imagine the pain that he and his family are experiencing right now, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
h/t Page Six