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'Cake Boss' opens up about mother's death, bakes to honor her memory

Buddy Valastro, grieving over the death of his mother, says he hasn't gone back to the bakery that started it all.
/ Source: TODAY

Buddy Valastro, grieving over the death of his mother, says he hasn’t gone back to the bakery that started it all.

The “Cake Boss” star and Carlo's Bakery master baker lost his mother, Mary, on June 22 after a long battle with ALS. The original location of Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, which Mary helped run, just brings back too many memories, he told PEOPLE magazine.

“I haven’t been back to Hoboken since she died and I know that when I go there, I’ll definitely break down,” he said. “That place has got so much history and that was my mom’s spot, that was her store.”

The Valastro family has been running Carlo's Bakery since 1964, with Mary taking the reins in 1994 after her husband died. She, along with Buddy and his siblings, rose to fame when the bakery became the subject of the hit TLC reality show “Cake Boss,” which debuted 2009. The show’s popularity led to booming business, and the Valastros have since opened 18 more locations.

“My mother and father were always around, I feel like the bakery was our special place,” Valastro said.

Mary was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. According to Buddy, her motor skills debilitated over the past year. She died at age 69 due to complications from pneumonia, a common cause of death for those battling ALS. Buddy and his siblings were with her when she died.

“I looked her in the eye, and I told her, ‘Ma, I owe everything to you and I couldn’t be who I am without you. You’re my No. 1 girl, and I’ll always love you.’ And I got to say my piece, I got to say goodbye to her — which was tough,” Valastro recalled in his interview with PEOPLE, adding, “I know she’s in a better place and she’s in heaven and she’s with my father singing ‘I Will Survive.’"

While Valastro mourns his mother’s death, he’s also keeping her sweet legacy alive.

“She doesn’t want me to stop,” he told PEOPLE. “She wants me to be the patriarch of the family and keep doing what I’m doing, 100 percent. There’s not even a doubt in my mind.”