Filipino acting veteran Eddie Garcia passes away at 90

Eddie Garcia | Photo by Artu Nepomuceno

AWARD-WINNING veteran actor Eddie Garcia passed away at the age of 90 on Thursday afternoon, June 20, according to a medical bulletin issued by the Makati Medical Center.

Garcia had been in critical condition due to a severe cervical fracture after he tripped on a cable wire while taping for “Rosang Agimat,” his upcoming TV series on for GMA Network last June 8. The fracture left him in a comatose state and he was placed on “do-not-resuscitate” status by his family on June 15.

In the Makati Medical Center’s statement after Garcia passed at 4:55 p.m. on Thursday, it said it is joining “the entire Filipino community in praying for the soul of Mr. Garcia and his dearly beloved family and friends. We extend our deepest condolences to the Garcia family.”

Garcia, who started his showbiz career 70 years ago, built an impressive oeuvre containing over 600 films to his name. Known for his versatility and work ethic, Garcia had become an institution in Philippine entertainment as a multi-awarded actor and director.

Throughout his career, Garcia amassed several awards for his performances in films and TV shows. Just a few days before his death, he was awarded the Gawad Urian for best actor for his role as a retired Metrocom colonel with a slight dementia in the 2018 Cinemalaya movie “ML.”

Garcia was the only artist inducted in three categories in the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards (FAMAS) Hall of Fame: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Director.

Before becoming an actor, he served as a military policeman in Okinawa, Japan after World War II. He was also part of the occupation troops of the Philippine Scouts with the U.S. Army for three years.

Paying tribute

The partylist coalition in the Philippine House of Representatives said it would nominate Garcia for a posthumous honor as a National Artist.

“As a group, the partylist coalition will nominate Eddie Garcia for the posthumous conferment of the National Artists award. The man and his legacy stand for what is beautiful and true about Philippine Art, specifically in Film and Television,” Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, secretary general of the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc (PCFI) said in a statement.

Celebrities and politicians also took to social media to share their grief and pay tribute to the veteran actor.

“It is a sad and heartbreaking day as we lose a legend in our industry — who was so loved by many,” tweeted actress Anne Curtis. “Rest in peace, Tito Eddie. My prayers are with his family.”

Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Anne’s sister, posted on Twitter, as well, saying “the rain is pouring so hard… I feel like the afternoon is crying its heart out because of a great loss in the entertainment industry, Tito Eddie Garcia. You are an amazing person and actor.”

“You will be missed and forever remembered. I pray you find peace and rest in the arms of our Lord. You are in a better place, Sir,” Jodi Sta. Maria said on Twitter.

Showbiz reporter Gretchen Ho, meanwhile, said: “Thank you for the inspiration of a life & career well-lived. 90 years. One of the legends of Philippine TV & Cinema. Rest in peace, Eddie Garcia.”

Vice Ganda, who worked with Garcia in the film “Praybeyt Benjamin” tweeted that “it was an honor to meet you and to have the experience to work with you, Tito Eddie Garcia. Maraming maraming salamat po sa karanasan, inspirasyon at kabutihan (Thank you so much for the experience, inspiration and kindness). Mahal ka ng apo mong si Praybeyt Benjamin (You are loved by your grandson).”

“It was an honor to have worked with you, sir. Rest in power, Manoy. We will miss you,” said filmmaker Dan Villegas, who directed Hintayin ng Langit (Heaven is Waiting), which was made into a film starring Garcia and Gina Pareño and was recently released on Netflix days before Garcia died.

Outgoing Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito also tweeted, saying “Sad to hear of the passing of Tito Eddie Garcia. An institution in the Philippine Film Industry. A fine gentleman. One of the nicest persons in show business I have met.”

Garcia is survived by his son Henry, his family, and long-time partner Lilibeth Romero.

His wish to be cremated had been fulfilled by his family Thursday night, a few hours after his death.

His wake was opened to the public on Friday until Sunday at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig.

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