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Singer Jon Bon Jovi’s mother was 83 years old

Carol Bongiovi, Jon Bon Jovi’s mother and a familiar face to fans as the founder of the Bon Jovi fan club, died Tuesday at age 83.

The death of the woman known to some fans as “Mom Jovi” occurred three days before her 84th birthday at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

“Our mother was a force to be reckoned with; her spirit and positive attitude shaped this family,” Jon Bon Jovi said in a statement announcing the news. “She will be greatly missed.”

After decades of holding a prominent place in family (and, therefore, band) history, Carol Bongiovi made an appearance of sorts in one of her son’s final music videos — as did her husband of 63 years, John Bongiovi, Sr., who survives her. For his 2021 “Story of Love” video, the rocker sang in front of a large black-and-white portrait of his parents in their youth, reinforcing their time together even as he alluded to his own longtime union with his high school sweetheart, Dorothea Bongiovi.

“What I inherited from my parents was the ability to make my dreams come true,” Bon Jovi told Big Issue in 2020. “Even if you weren’t really good at your craft, if you believed you were, you could work at it. As I got older, I realized that was a great gift I got from my parents. They really believed in John Kennedy’s mantra of going to the moon. ‘Yes, of course you can go to the moon. Just go, Johnny. ’ And off I went.”

One of the reasons Carol stood out among the band’s fans, beyond her famous support of her son’s musical endeavors, was that very few rockers can tell the story of being the son of two Marines. Her parents met while both were in the Marine Corps in the 1950s and married shortly afterward.

But not many can say that they were the children of one of the first Playboy bunnies, something that Carol also had on her resume along with her military service. She was also a florist before enlisting.

Carol Sharkey was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. After she and her husband were discharged from the Marine Corps, they moved to Sayreville, New Jersey, where their son Jon was born in 1962.

According to Laura Jackson’s biography of Jon Bon Jovi, Carol encouraged her son’s budding talent for performance and “would line up with her oldest son in front of a full-length mirror (where) together they would have fun watching each other perform songs.” When he was just 7, she brought home an acoustic guitar and urged him to learn to play it, though it wasn’t until he was a teenager that he began to take music seriously.

In addition to her husband, her musician son and his wife, Carol is also survived by two additional children and their spouses: Anthony and Nina Yang Bongiovi of Los Angeles, and Matthew and Desiree Bongiovi of Holmdel, New Jersey, and eight grandchildren.

Funeral services will be private. Holmdel Funeral Home, which is in charge of organising the funeral, has set up a memorial page for messages of condolence at www.holmdelfuneralhome.com.