Joe Giudice Pays Tribute to Late Father-in-Law Giacinto Gorga, Says He Was a 'Guiding Light'

Joe Giudice has spoken out about the loss of his estranged wife Teresa Giudice‘s father, Giacinto Gorga.

After the Real Housewives of New Jersey star announced on Instagram that her dad died on Friday morning, Joe posted his own tribute to his late father-in-law.

“Thank you for setting an example for us and my girls — you’re an exemplary example. We benefited from it every day,” he captioned a photo of the pair. “Thank you for being a guiding light — your experiences and knowledge helped us navigate day-to-day challenges.”

“Thank you for cooking at family holiday dinners — I cherish the times we all sat around the table together playing cards and listening to your remembrances of thanks,” he continued. “Thank you for your wit — your daughter got the best of that.”

“Now, your [love] and my dad are smiling in this tough time because they get to enjoy your good food and funny jokes,” Joe added, referring to his own late father and Gorga’s late wife Antonia, who died in 2017 after a battle with pneumonia. “Cin cin #rip #cincin.”

He also posted a photo of Gorga smiling with Teresa and his four granddaughters, Joe and Teresa’s girls.

“‘Vivi Bene, Ama Molto, Ridi Spesso’ — Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often this is how I describe you,” Joe captioned the post, adding the hash tag “heaven gained an angel.”

Joe, 49, and Teresa, 47, were married for 20 years before announcing their separation in December.

On Friday, the Bravo star remembered her father as her “protector” and “hero.” His death came one day after she made a heartfelt plea for prayers from fans, admitting that her dad was “struggling.”

She went on to share some of her favorite memories with him, calling him the “strongest man I know” and reflecting on his “devotion” to her late mother.

“My silver lining is knowing you’ll be together now,” she wrote. “Thank you for showing us all what true love is. Love you Papa Rest In Peace.”

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.”

Gorga’s health had been a matter of concern for months. Last November, Teresa reportedly had to leave BravoCon early to take him to the hospital.

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