Philippine show business lost one of its pillars yesterday. Less than two weeks following an accident on set of what would be his last TV series, Eddie Garcia, a veteran of the industry with seven decades of acting, directing and producing under his belt, passed away at the Makati Memorial Center. He was aged 90.
As The Philippine Star tells it, Eddie Garcia was pronounced dead at 4:55 in the afternoon of Thursday, June 20. This was twelve days following a bad fall the actor suffered while shooting “Rosang Agimat,” in what should have been his latest appearance on a TV soap produced by GMA7. His injury was a cervical fracture, or broken neck, that left him unconscious until placed in intensive care at the MMC, where he slipped into a coma. MMC spokesperson Tony Rebosa gave the official announcement of Garcia’s death, from complications of his cervical fracture injury.
Throughout his stay at the Makati Medical Center, the veteran actor was attached to a respirator. As days passed without any improvement in his status his family signed a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) agreement with the hospital, in the event his heartbeat or breathing stopped.
Garcia’s longtime partner of 33 years, Lilibeth Romero, was at his bedside as he died. She had earlier revealed in interview with the Star that before being brought to MMC, Garcia was taken to Mary Johnston Hospital where he was pronounced Dead on Arrival, but was somehow successfully revived. Romero and the rest of the actor’s family had also criticized the mistaken initial report by GMA News that Garcia had suffered a heart attack instead of falling and breaking his neck. Also lambasted was the absence of a medical crew on standby while shooting “Rosang Agimat,” as Garcia had to be moved by bystanders for transport to the nearest hospital, instead of trained medical practitioners.
The whole Philippine showbiz community has since come out in an outpouring of grief and condolences for the passing of an industry icon. Both veteran acting and production contemporaries of Eddie Garcia, and the newest generation of stars, were united in their expression of admiration for him and his achievements.
One of the amazing accomplishments of Garcia had been the ability to separate his showbiz career and home life, to the point that he managed to retain his privacy for as long as he had worked in the industry. That image of a private recluse comes into play with his publicized funeral plans. He had insisted on not having a wake, and that his remains should be cremated as soon as possible following his death, then scattered in Manila Bay. Lilibeth Romero says her partner never prepared a last will.
Image: YouTube via CNN Philippines