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Big Ang Final Wish A Disco Send-Off

2/18/2016 9:54 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0218-big-ang-TMZ-01Big Ang had a dying wish -- a disco party in Brooklyn.

Ang loved a discotheque in her hood called Pastels. She wanted her family and friends to have a hard-drinking night where the music would reign supreme. Ang felt this was more appropriate to celebrate her life than a stodgy memorial service.

Here's the problem. Pastels has been shut down for a while. It's unclear if the family will find another venue.

As for a final resting place, we're told one thing's for sure -- no cremation, because Ang was freaked out by fire. She'll be buried, but as of this moment the family hasn't chosen a site.

Ang passed away Thursday morning after battling cancer. She was 55. 


'Mob Wives' Big Ang Dead at 55

2/18/2016 2:09 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0217_big-ang-tmz"Mob Wives" star Angela "Big Ang" Raiola has died after a battle with stage 4 cancer ... TMZ has learned.

Ang was surrounded by family members early Thursday at a Manhattan hospital when she passed away. She was first diagnosed with throat cancer in April when doctors discovered a tumor in her throat and it was removed shortly after.

Her rep released a statement saying Ang passed at 3:01 AM ET, and TMZ has also confirmed it with family members. The rep added ... Ang's fans "were some of the most special people in her world, and she loved you immensely. Thank you for your love, prayers, and unconditional support of Angela right to the very end."

Hours earlier, Ang's team had to clear up false reports she died Wednesday evening.

Ang learned her cancer had returned in December and spread to her brain and lungs.

Raiola is survived by her two kids, Raquel and Anthony, and has six grandkids. 

She was 55 years old.



George Gaynes 'Punky Brewster' Star Dead

2/16/2016 8:12 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

021616-george-gaynes-getty-03George Gaynes, who found fame as a foster parent on "Punky Brewster" and Commandant Lassard on "Police Academy" has died.

Gaynes was at his daughter's house in Washington on Monday when he passed away. He was 98-years-old. Gaynes daughter Iya confirmed the death to the New York Times.

Gaynes appeared on hundreds of episodes of sitcoms and TV dramas. He also did work on the big screen, appearing in films like "Tootsie" with Dustin Hoffman in 1982.

The actor also made a name for himself singing and on Broadway.


Ex 'Bachelor' Contestant Dead After Apparent Suicide

2/16/2016 11:48 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0216-lex-mcallister-INSTAGRAM-03Lex McAllister, a contestant on one of the most popular seasons of "The Bachelor" is dead, and authorities and her family believes it's a suicide ... TMZ has learned.

Lex appeared on season 14 of the show with Jake Pavelka ... she was eliminated after the first week. Lex made waves when she spoke out about Jake's breakup with Vienna Girardi (the season's winner), saying Girardi was not at fault

Law enforcement sources in Columbus, Ohio tell us they received a 911 call Saturday at around 2 PM ... the caller stated Lex had texted her earlier that day saying she wanted to "end her life" and when the caller went to check on her it appeared Lex had OD'd on prescription pills.

0216-lex-mcallister-the-bachelor-ABC-02She was taken to a hospital in stable condition but, according to her family, her body started to shut down. The family withdrew life support and Lex died Tuesday morning.

A member of Lex's family tells us, she struggled with depression and bipolar disorder.

Gia Allemand, who was also a contestant on Lex's season of the show, committed suicide in 2013 by hanging.  


Vanity Prince Protege Dies at 57

2/15/2016 4:34 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0215-denise-matthews-vanity-getty-4Vanity, lead singer of the '80s girl group Vanity 6, has died after years of battling kidney failure and, more recently, an abdominal illness.

Vanity, whose real name was Denise Katrina Matthews, passed away in a Fremont, CA hospital on Monday ... according to sources close to her family. A few months ago she set up a GoFundMe page, and said she'd been diagnosed with sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis -- an inflammation of the small intestines.

She also battled crack addiction in the '90s, and after a 1994 OD her kidneys were shot. She had to undergo nearly daily dialysis treatments.

Vanity's biggest hit came in 1982 with "Nasty Girl" ... a song produced by Prince. The group toured with Prince on his 1999 tour, but she quit right after that. She went on to sign a solo record deal with Motown, and starred in movies like "The Last Dragon" and "Action Jackson." 

She eventually ditched Hollywood, quit drugs and became a born-again Christian in the mid '90s. She remained active in her local church up until her death. We're told she was in church on Saturday evening and told the congregation she was "ready to go home."

Vanity was 57.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia Dead At 79

2/13/2016 2:24 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0213-justice-antonin-scalia-getty-01update_graphic_red_bar5:50 P.M. PST -- President Obama just set the stage for political war, vowing to "fulfill my constitutional duties" and send a Supreme Court nominee to the Senate.  The Republican leadership has made it clear they don't want an Obama nominee.  Since the Republicans control the Senate, it's game on.update_grey_gray_barU.S. Supreme Court  Justice Antonin Scalia, the heart and soul of the conservative justices, was found dead Saturday morning in Texas.

Scalia arrived at a luxury resort Friday and attended a private party at the resort. When he didn't show up to a breakfast Saturday morning before a hunting trip, a resort employee found Scalia's body in his room.

Chief Justice John Roberts released a statement saying, "He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served."

Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan in 1986 and served for almost 30 years. He had a huge influence on the hot-button issue of abortion rights ... in 1992 when he wrote a scathing dissent to Justice O'Connor's majority opinion and spent many years trying to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Scalia had what some thought was an odd relationship with liberal Justice Ginsburg  The two were almost polar opposites professionally but maintained a very close friendship. Both were New Yorkers, Scalia from Queens and Ginsburg from Brooklyn.

With an empty seat on the Court, President Obama is now given a huge opportunity to shape the Court for years to come.  The split was 5-4, with conservatives having the edge.  Obama could reverse that, but Republican leaders and some presidential candidates are already saying the appointment should be made by the next president.

Scalia was 79-years-old.


Monty Williams' Wife Other Driver Was Speeding In Fatal Crash

2/11/2016 8:14 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0210-monty-ingrid-williams-twitter-01More details emerging in the car crash that killed the wife of OKC Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams -- with cops telling TMZ Sports they believe the other car was speeding at the time of the accident.  

Ingrid Williams died Wednesday morning ... hours after her car was struck head-on near downtown Oklahoma City by a car going the opposite direction that veered across the median. The other driver was also killed in the wreck. 

Now, a rep for the OKC Police Dept. tells us speed appears to have been a factor -- "The other driver was clearly going at a fast rate of speed. It was really fast." 

The other driver also had her dog in her lap at the time of the crash -- leaving many people wondering if the pet distracted the driver on the road. 

"I don't know if we'll ever know [if the dog was a factor]. She was in the car by herself."

We're told investigators will be testing blood from both drivers to see if alcohol or drugs were involved (standard operating procedure in cases like this) but results won't be back for at least another week.  

Lemmy All Systems Go For Tribute at the Rainbow

2/11/2016 12:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

0210-lemmy-kilmister-tmz-01Motorhead frontman Lemmy is one huge step closer to returning to his favorite watering hole again -- his life-sized bronze monument is now fully funded.

TMZ spoke to artist Travis Moore who says he's already started work on the tribute that's going up at the Rainbow Bar & Grill in West Hollywood. Travis, a die hard Lemmy fan, agreed to waive his artist fee -- but a crowdfunding page was started to pay for materials.

As of Wednesday, they've got $20k! 

0210-sub-travis-moore-lemmy-statue-01On Wednesday, Travis started assembling an 18-inch clay miniature which will be used to model the final 6 foot tall sculpture. 

And here's a bonus for all crowdfunding donors -- the owner of the Rainbow tells us their names will be plastered in the club, right behind bronzed Lemmy. They're aiming for a May unveiling. 



Kristin Cavallari's Brother Body Found Naked Paranoid About Gangs Before Disappearance

2/10/2016 4:44 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

1210-michael-cavallari-FACEBOOK-01Kristin Cavallari's family says her brother Michael suffered from extreme paranoia leading up to his fatal disappearance in Utah ... fearing a Mexican gang member was after him.

According to the Grand Co. Sheriff's report -- obtained by TMZ -- Michael Cavallari's mother Judy told cops he was diagnosed as bipolar and had recently claimed a gang member was out to get him. 

Michael's car was found a few days after he went missing ... with 2 cell phones, a laptop and a golf bag containing $18k in cash inside. One possible explanation for all that loot -- the report says he'd just inherited $24k from a grandmother.

Almost two weeks after they found his car, investigators found Michael's body naked in the Utah wilderness with his clothing strewn around him. Investigators believe Michael suffered from "paradoxical undressing" ... a very common phenomena before someone dies from hypothermia.

Kristin Cavallari's Brother Cause of Death ... Hypothermia

2/9/2016 8:17 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

1210-michael-cavallari-FACEBOOK-01Kristin Cavallari's brother Michael died because of Utah's extreme elements ... according to the Grand County Sheriff's Office.

An autopsy done on the 30-year-old determined his official cause of death to be hypothermia. We're told December temperatures in the area fell as low as the teens at night and the 30s during the day.

Cavallari's body was found after nearly two weeks and located 3 miles from the nearest road. Cops found his abandoned car in a ditch after what appeared to have been an accident.

There was no evidence drugs or alcohol in the car and the working theory was he was walking for help. 


Dave Mirra Struggled in Vain for New Passion Post-BMX Career

2/8/2016 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0205-dave-mirra-getty-01Dave Mirra had a rough time finding purpose when his BMX career ended ... he tried filling the void by helping kids ... but it wasn't enough. 

Friends of Dave tell us ... in the months before his suicide, he spent his time introducing kids in the Greenville, North Carolina area to extreme sports, such as speed cycling and biking. 

Problem was ... the 41-year-old couldn't find anything in his life to even approximate the adrenaline rush he got from BMX. He knew working with kids was important, but the passion he felt while he competed just wasn't there, and it became a significant factor in his deep depression

We're told Dave tried to convince himself working with kids could be as satisfying as BMX, and from time to time his outlook would brighten. In fact, we're told just hours before he fatally shot himself, he saw someone at lunch and talked about plans to bring a speed cycling track to Greenville.

The friend with whom we spoke said the recurring theme from Dave was that he felt lost.  


NYC Crane Crash Race to Save Victims Seconds After Fall

2/5/2016 8:43 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Video

Seconds after that massive crane came crashing down in NYC ... first responders were on the scene fighting to pull victims from their cars.

TMZ has obtained video of the rescue efforts. The crane, which is longer than a city block, took out multiple cars in TriBeCa.

There's an unknown number of people injured. The 1 person who was killed was apparently a pedestrian who was struck by the crane. We've blurred an image of the victim.

You can see the crane actually falling ... in this video. 

Dave Mirra Possible CTE ... Officials Say

2/5/2016 6:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

BMX legend Dave Mirra may have suffered from CTE -- just like several ex-NFL players -- and it may have been a factor in his suicide ... so says the Mayor of Greenville, NC.

Mayor Allen Thomas says officials are still gathering the facts surrounding Mirra's death -- but says he fears he may have had CTE from head trauma he suffered during his extreme sports days.

Thomas even invoked the name of ex-NFL star Junior Seau -- who took his own life in 2012 ... and was later found to have the brain condition

Police chief Mark Holtzman says investigators have spoken with a group of Mirra's friends -- who Mirra was with minutes before the suicide -- and they said Dave didn't appear suicidal. 

However, he had been showing signs of depression in the past, Holtzman says.  

As we previously reported, Mirra's body was discovered in his truck Thursday and cops say it's clear he took his own life with his own gun. 

He was 41. 

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