Teresa Giudice is mourning the loss of her protector and hero. 

On Friday, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star announced her father, Giacinto Gorga, had peacefully died earlier that morning. He was 76-years-old. 

"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 in a touching Instagram tribute featuring a montage of family photos

"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. 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."

While the reality star and mother of four did not disclose the cause of her dad's death, Gorga had battled health problems for years, which were chronicled over seasons of the hit Bravo show. In November 2019, she left BravoCon early to take him to the hospital. A day before his death, Giudice reached out to fans, asking for "any extra prayers, good vibes, love....please send my fathers way."

"My father is struggling and my girls and I need him, we need his love, his presence & his strength," she wrote at the time, alluding to a potential issue with his health. Giudice's mother, Antonia Gorga, passed away in 2017 at 66 years old. 

Teresa Giudice Instagram

Teresa Giudice Instagram

Teresa's brother Joe Gorga and sister-in-law Melissa Gorga, both fellow Real Housewives stars, also spoke out about the great loss on social media.

"I can't believe he is gone," Joe wrote on Instagram. "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. 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."

Teresa Giudice, Dad, Giacinto Gorga

Instagram

Melissa added, "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. 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."

Teresa's estranged husband, Joe Giudice, wrote in part, "Thank you for setting an example for us and my girls-you're an exemplary example. We benefited from it every day. Thank you for being a guiding light—your experiences and knowledge helped us navigate day-to-day challenges.

Bravo patriarch Andy Cohen also shared a tribute, writing on social media, "So sad about Nono!!! He was a sweet patriarch to a wonderful family and a mainstay of #RHONJ. Sending all my love to @Teresa_Giudice @joegorga and the whole family."

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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