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Mark and Donnie Wahlberg pay tribute to their mom Alma, who died at 78

The matriarch of the Wahlberg family was beloved by fans of her sons and their show "Wahlburgers."
/ Source: TODAY

The Wahlberg family is mourning the loss of their matriarch, Alma Wahlberg, who passed away at age 78.

Her sons Mark and Donnie Wahlberg broke the news on Sunday via social media, each sharing their own posts to pay tribute to their mother.

Mark posted a photo of his mom on Instagram and Twitter with the brief, touching message, “My angel. Rest in peace.”

Donnie took to Twitter on Sunday morning to share his grief following the loss of his mother. The New Kids on the Block singer tweeted a black and white selfie with his mom, writing, “She was always an angel. Now she has her wings. Rest peacefully Alma. As Always, your Baby Donnie #RIPAlma 🙏🏼❤️🕊😢”

On Instagram, the 51-year-old singer also shared a nearly two-minute-long montage video of clips throughout the years. In the caption, Donnie wrote a long, heartfelt note dedicated to his mother and her life.

“I’m so blessed to have been brought into this world by, raised by, taught by and set on my life’s path by, such an amazing woman,” he began the caption. “My mom Alma’s joy for life, love and people — combined with a pride in her humble beginnings and refusal to forget where she came from — undoubtedly shaped me into the man that I am.”

Donnie wrote that he often said that all of his good traits were passed down from his mother.

“She was, without a doubt, the most loving human being I’ve ever known,” he continued. “I never heard her say, or do, anything disrespectful to anyone. She was, as anybody who ever came across her knows, true blue.”

“Like so many moms who struggled, overcame odds, made something from nothing and pulled off the impossible for their children, she never complained. She did what needed to be done, most often, with a smile. She made the best of times in the worst of times.”

“She kicked our butts if we messed up, kicked anyone else’s butts if they messed with us,” he added. “Taught us right, made us pay the price when we were wrong. She was the epitome of the word grace.”

Donnie recalled a moment from his childhood where his mother would ask him to sing her favorite song, “Native New Yorker” by Odyssey, with her while she cleaned the house.

Donnie concluded his touching statement on a poignant note, writing, “It’s time to rest peacefully, mom. I love you, miss you, thank you and will celebrate you, today and always. Forever — your Baby Donnie.”

His wife, “The Masked Singer” judge Jenny McCarthy, paid tribute to her late mother-in-law on social media as well, posting a silly selfie of the two together on Instagram.

“To my sweet Alma. I could not have asked for a better mother-in-law,” she wrote. “Always kind, always made me feel loved and she will always be an inspiration to so many.. Love you so much Alma. ❤️🙏🏻”

Alma was the mother of nine children: Arthur, Paul, Jim, Robert, Donnie, Mark, Michelle, Debbie and Tracey. Her husband of 17 years, Donald Wahlberg, died in 2008. Their daughter, Debbie, passed away in 2003.

A frequent figure on the family’s reality show “Wahlburgers,” Alma Wahlberg stole the hearts of many fans throughout the years, especially through her candid discussions on raising sons on their rise to stardom and navigating life as a single mother after she split from her husband in 1982.

Alma sat down with TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones in December 2018 to discuss motherhood at length, including her one simple rule for her sons: call her!

When she looked back at her journey through parenthood, Alma said she got everything she ever wanted, telling Sheinelle, “I look at them and every single one of them are good people. They help people and I couldn’t be prouder.”

“No big deal, just ‘Hey Ma, how are you? I love you. Gotta go,’” she added. “That’s all I’m asking. Mark calls me from all over the world. Every single day for the past two and a half years. I don’t care if it’s 3 o’clock in the morning!”

“When I think about it, I had nine children, three girls and six boys, and they gave me a run for my money,” she told TODAY in 2019. “What it took to survive — I mean, I had to get welfare food for God’s sake. So it was really tough.”

Alma Wahlberg
Alma Wahlberg and her son, Donnie Wahlberg attend the grand opening of Wahlburgers on Oct. 24, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Marc Andrew Deley / FilmMagic

Her family’s financial situation did improve as New Kids on the Block's fortunes rose, she acknowledged but with that came some fears, too.

“I was getting nervous that I don’t want this to get carried away and think they’re, you know, all that,” Alma acknowledged. “I want them to appreciate this. And they did.”

“The bottom line is, they were good kids,” she also said at the time. “They didn’t think they were all this and that. They were just good kids. You could tell they really cared about each other. To me that was the key.”

No cause or date of death was shared by the family. In July, Donnie shared an update on Alma’s health to Instagram, writing, “I know that so many of you have asked how my mom Alma is doing. During my visit, she didn’t remember much, and was often confused, but somehow she was still Alma.”