New York ‘nightlife king’ and actor Rocco Ancarola dies at age 66 after long battle with cancer: Tributes flow in for powerhouse impresario who opened CiaoBella and Lavo and appeared in hit movie Wall Street

Ancarola was the driving force behind popular late-night haunts in the city, including Ciao Bella, Boom, Pink Elephant and Lavo.
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New York City nightclub identity and restaurateur Rocco Ancarola has died at the age of 66 after a battle with cancer.

Ancarola, who is of Italian descent, was the driving force behind popular night spots in the city including Ciao Bella, Boom, Pink Elephant and Lavo.

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Born in Johannesburg, Ancarola moved to New York in the 1980s to pursue an acting career and played small roles in films, including “Wall Street,” opposite Michael Douglas.

Ancarola became a household name after appearing on Real Housewives of New York City with then-girlfriend Sonja Morgan.

His sister revealed that they had decided to take him off life support following his health problems.

Ancarola was the driving force behind popular late-night haunts in the city, including Ciao Bella, Boom, Pink Elephant and Lavo.

Ancarola was the driving force behind popular late-night haunts in the city, including Ciao Bella, Boom, Pink Elephant and Lavo.

Ancarola was the driving force behind popular late-night haunts in the city, including Ciao Bella, Boom, Pink Elephant and Lavo.

Ancarola recently became a household name after appearing on Real Housewives of New York City with then-girlfriend Sonja Morgan, the couple can be seen here

Ancarola recently became a household name after appearing on Real Housewives of New York City with then-girlfriend Sonja Morgan, the couple can be seen here

Ancarola recently became a household name after appearing on Real Housewives of New York City with then-girlfriend Sonja Morgan, the couple can be seen here

After moving to New York to pursue an acting career, he co-starred with Michael Douglas in 'Wall Street'

After moving to New York to pursue an acting career, he co-starred with Michael Douglas in 'Wall Street'

After moving to New York to pursue an acting career, he co-starred with Michael Douglas in 'Wall Street'

In a message, seen by Page sixshe said, 'Derek Banton,[his] childhood friend, slept with Rocco in the hospital.

'[Taking him off life support and] Letting Rocco breathe on his own was the hardest decision my siblings and I had to make.

“He loved everyone who called and came to visit; that kept him alive to fight the cancer.”

Page Six reported that a group of nightlife players gathered at Bijoux in the city on Thursday evening to celebrate his life.

Images of Ancarola online show him standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of his Wall Street costar Michael Douglas, Cuba Gooding JR and Jordan Belfort.

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Ancarola told it earlier Page six about his invitation to Belfort's home for the summer of 1998.

“One day I got a call from Randy Schindler, founder of Hampton magazine, and Randy said, 'I know a guy who has a big mansion.' He just got divorced. Why don't you stay at his house this summer with all your girls? “,' he said.

Ancarola was running Boom Bistro in Sag Harbor, Long Island, at the time of the call and had loaded a minivan to move into the mansion.

'Jordan lived a life of luxury, entertaining models and Russian call girls and all kinds of hangers-on. The party didn't stop,” he added.

In 2011, he suffered an aortic aneurysm that required open-heart surgery, prompting a fundraising campaign that raised more than $130,000.

Ancarola had previously spoken about this near-death experience in Social Life Magazine.

Ancarola is seen here next to Jordan Belfort, whom he says he first met after spending a summer at his country house in the late 1990s.

Ancarola is seen here next to Jordan Belfort, whom he says he first met after spending a summer at his country house in the late 1990s.

Ancarola is seen here next to Jordan Belfort, whom he says he first met after spending a summer at his country house in the late 1990s.

In 2011, he suffered an aortic aneurysm that required open-heart surgery, prompting a fundraising campaign that raised more than $130,000.  He is seen here with Cuba Gooding Jr.

In 2011, he suffered an aortic aneurysm that required open-heart surgery, prompting a fundraising campaign that raised more than $130,000.  He is seen here with Cuba Gooding Jr.

In 2011, he suffered an aortic aneurysm that required open-heart surgery, prompting a fundraising campaign that raised more than $130,000. He is seen here with Cuba Gooding Jr.

His sister said in a social media post that she and her siblings had made the decision to take him off life support

His sister said in a social media post that she and her siblings had made the decision to take him off life support

His sister said in a social media post that she and her siblings had made the decision to take him off life support

He said, “I almost died on Thanksgiving Day in 2011. I was fortunately admitted to one of the best trauma units on the East Coast, at Newark University Hospital, and was fortunate to be operated on by a team of amazing surgeons.

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'When I came out of my induced coma, my doctor told me to thank God. He told me that very few people get a second chance at life. And I was lucky enough to be among the chosen ones.”

Tributes to the nightlife guru have been pouring in on social media since his death on Thursday.

DOM nightclub owner Albert Trummer told DailyMail.com: 'Rocco dedicated his life and love to hospitality and NYC.

“He leaves behind great memories and the best parties in NYC ever. His warm welcome and big smile will stay with us forever. NYC has lost one of nightlife's greatest impresarios and loving friends.”

Ancarola was born in South Africa and was of Italian descent.  He moved to New York City in the 1980s

Ancarola was born in South Africa and was of Italian descent.  He moved to New York City in the 1980s

Ancarola was born in South Africa and was of Italian descent. He moved to New York City in the 1980s

Lavo resident DJ Paolo Vincenti said: “If New York nightlife has a godfather, it's you. Your GoFundMe was the largest lineup of music talent in history, so you ended up throwing the biggest party of all time.”

In a social media post seen by TimesLiveSouth African Pam Mbatani said: “I find it difficult to put into words the depth of loss I feel. Rocco was not just a friend, he was a brother, a mentor, an uncle to my daughter Aria and a beacon of joy.

'From the moment we met [in New York] Rocco hugged me like his 'little sister from South Africa'.

Girlfriend Inna DeSilva told Page Six: “He was the best host in the world. '[It’s] very difficult to find someone else at that level.'

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