Teresa Giudice‘s father, Giacinto Gorga, has died.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
Along with the heartfelt tribute, Teresa also posted a video showing photos of her father throughout his life.
“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,” she continued. “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.”
“I love you always,” she wrote in a second post.
Teresa’s brother, Joe Gorga, also mourned his father’s death on Instagram.
“I can’t believe he is gone💔 The world lost an amazing man human being today. 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,” he wrote. “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”
And his wife Melissa Gorga said, “Heaven just got another angel.”
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, 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.”
On Thursday, Teresa made a heartfelt plea for prayers and well-wishes from her fans on Instagram and said that her dad was “struggling.”
“At this trying time I’m graciously asking for any extra prayers, good vibes, love….please send my fathers way,” she wrote. “My father is struggling and my girls and I need him, we need his love, his presence & his strength. #thepowerofprayers 🙏🏻❤️.”
Giacinto had seven grandchildren total — Teresa’s four daughters Gia, 19, Gabriella, 16, Milania, 15, and Audriana, 11, and Joe and Melissa’s daughter Antonia, 14, and sons Gino, 12, and Joey, 9.
Giacinto’s health has been a matter of concern for some time now. In November, Teresa reportedly had to leave BravoCon early to take Giacinto to the hospital.
“Sorry, BravoCon fans,” Teresa reportedly said in her Instagram Story at the time. “I had to leave.”
“My dad doesn’t feel well. I’m taking him to the hospital,” she added.
TERESA GIUDICE/Instagram Teresa Giudice and Giacinto Gorga
Giacinto was also admitted to the hospital in October 2018, with Teresa posting a photo from his bedside to social media at the time. She shared a photo of her boots resting on a hospital bed to her Instagram Story. Joe also stopped by to pay him a visit.
Less than a year prior, Giacinto was hospitalized for pneumonia in November 2017.
Following Antonia’s death in 2017, Giacinto began living with Teresa and her daughters and was frequently featured on the hit Bravo series.