It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Michelina Gagliardo, also known as “Zia Michelina.” A beloved Italian Nonna, Zia, and friend. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on the night of January 7th 2019 at the age of 90.
Zia Michelina was born in Sicily and immigrated to the United States to start a family.
In 2014, when Zia Michelina turned 84, her grandson, Michael Carollo, began sharing funny videos of her on social media platforms. She was hilarious, kind, sweet, and reminded many Italian-Americans of their own family. She had a unique ability to make everyone laugh.
Her first viral video was her singing a remix of the song “I’m in Love with the Coco.” You can view the video below.
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Heaven gained another angel and the earth is a little less bright. 🙏🏻 Today the world said goodbye to the one and only @zia_michelina and my heart is broken for the Gagliardo and Carollo families who lost a mother, Nonna, Zia and friend. Zia Michelina possessed the unique and innate ability to make absolutely everyone smile. Regardless of what language you spoke Zia Michelina always managed to enter your heart and bring you to a place of old school Italian-American joy. A place where your Nonna could sing you a song or tell you a story and everything would be all better. It’s incredible to imagine just how many lives she touched even in the winter of her life. Her profound influence could not be more evident than in her grandson @mikeyc_128 , who worked tirelessly to care for her and celebrate her with more respect and esteem than I have words for. Their bond was absolutely precious. I was fortunate enough to profile Zia Michelina in my first book. Her story was not always happy. From Corleone Sicily to the Bronx, to international fame! She was a woman who endured so much. Loss, war, poverty, immigration, but she told her story with a smile and ended it with a song that I could never forget. “Come me, non c’è nessuno! Io sono l’unica al mondo!” (Like me, there is no one! I am unique in the world!) She was absolutely right. Riposa in pace @zia_michelina ! 🙏🏻 You will be missed.
Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of Zia Michelina. She has had such a positive impact on thousands of peoples’ lives and will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace Zia Michelina. ♡