(WKBN) – One of the area’s most liked and respected restaurateurs has died. “Chookie” Alberini passed away around noon on Friday.

He was born Richard Alberini, Jr. but everyone called him Chookie.

He, along with his mother and father, ran Alberini’s restaurant on the strip in Niles until it closed in 2013. He then managed Stonebridge in Howland.

According to his wife, Chookie was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 but had been cancer free for seven years. Then, three weeks ago, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia.

He’s survived by his wife Brigitte and son Dominic, who called his father “the greatest man I ever met.”

Chookie was 62 years old.