MANILA (March 6) – Rapper, actor, and TV-host Francis Magalona died Friday at 12:20 p.m. at the Medical City hospital in Pasig City. He was 44. His body was taken out of the hospital in the afternoon and brought to the Funeraria Paz at around 5 p.m.
The immediate cause of Magalona’s death was heart failure but according to a source at the hospital, he succumbed to multiple organ failure “secondary to severe sepsis and secondary to pneumonia.”
He had been undergoing chemotherapy since he was diagnosed with leukemia in August last year. At that time, he informed the noontime show “Eat Bulaga,” where he was a regular host, via text message, that he had leukemia and even requested blood donations to replace the blood he was using at the hospital where he was being treated.
Magalona leaves behind his wife, Pia Arroyo, and their eight children – Unna, Nicola, Francis Jr., Isabella, Elmo, Arkin, Clara, and actress Maxene Magalona.
The son of 1950’s legendary actors and celebrity couple Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran, and whose acting career was launched in the 1980’s, Magalona introduced rap music to Original Pilipino Music and to the general listening public. When his debut album “Yo!” was released in 1990, rap music was unheard of in local music. His musical career soared with his patriotic rap song “Mga Kababayan Ko.”
Other songs included in his extensive catalog include the songs “Cold Summer Nights,” “Gotta Let Cha Know,” “Kaleidoscope World,” “Ito Ang Gusto Ko,” and “Girl Be Mine.” Some of his songs also contain social commentary as in “Mga Praning,” “Ubos Biyaya,” and “Nilamon ng Sistema.”
His death leaves many in the Philippine entertainment and music industry distraught and mourning. While fans of Eat Bulaga await its show in Atlantic City this April, Lourdes Babas, an 82-year old resident of New York City, said Francis will surely be missed by both the young and the old.
“When we talk of Francis, we look back to his parents. They raised their children well especially Francis, who, if I remember correctly, earned the title ‘King of Rap.’ I cannot recall the title of the song he wrote but it is all about nationalism. His stint at the ‘Eat Bulaga’ showed his artistic nature too – I came to know he was also a painter,” she said.
Former president Corazon Aquino also expressed her sadness over Magalona’s death when she visited his wake early Saturday night at the Christ the King chapel in Green Meadows in Quezon City.
News reports say also that a number of celebrities like Gary Valenciano and his wife, Angeli, Michael V., Ogie Alcadid, Tirso Cruz III, William Martinez, Ramon Christopher, Joey de Leon, and the Eat Bulaga family were present during the first night of the rapper’s wake.