The industry mourns the passing of Eddie Garcia today, June 20, at 4:55 pm. He was 90.
His death was announced through a medical bulletin from Makati Medical Center, where he was confined for days.
“We join 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,” the bulletin read.
The legendary actor-director was hospitalized June 8 after suffering grave injury while taping a scene for an upcoming TV series. An initial statement from his family said he had a “severe heart attack.” Garcia was declared to have been put under “critical observation.”
Later, Garcia’s attending doctor, Dr. Enrique Lagman, made clear the actor did not suffer a heart attack, but sustained severe neck fracture.
“The doctors ruled out heart attack and stroke as proven by several validating tests done in Mary Johnston hospital. He is in critical condition due to severe cervical fracture,” he said in a statement from the Garcia family.
A video of the accident was released online. It saw Garcia shooting a gunfight scene against goons until he tripped on a cable wire, faltered in his steps and eventually fell down. As the footage proliferated, GMA Network released a statement, saying the management is reviewing the viral video.
It added that they are investigating the absence of a medical team during the taping of a show where the veteran actor had an accident.
“It has been the network’s practice to have medical personnel and ambulance crew on standby whenever the production is executing big action scenes during taping. This has been likewise the practice of other GMA programs. Given this, we are currently investigating the absence of a medical team on the set last Saturday, June 8,” the statement read.
“GMA Network is deeply saddened with what happened to Mr. Eddie Garcia and the management is committed to getting to the bottom of this unfortunate incident,” the network added.
Seven days since the accident, Garcia remained “comatose” and was in “critical condition.”
The family’s spokesperson, Dr. Tony Rebosa, confirmed Garcia was in life support. They added that they are “very overwhelmed” with the love he has received.
Several reports claimed his family was thinking of taking Garcia off life support but Rebosa belied it through a statement released June 14.
“Please be informed that the family of Mr. Eddie Garcia has not authorized nor has it consented to withdrawal of life support,” it read.
However, Rebosa revealed the family agreed to put the awarded actor on DNR or “do-not-resuscitate” status.
According to medical websites, a DNR order is a medical order written by a doctor. It instructs health care providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a patient’s breathing stops or if the patient’s heart stops beating.
Garcia is survived by his partner of 33 years, Lilibeth Romero, stepson Nikki Romero, and daughter Lisa Ortega.
Garcia started his career in the movie “Siete Infantes de Lara” in 1949. He directed his first project “Karugtong Ng Kahapon” in 1961.
With over 400 films under his belt, he is the only individual inducted in three categories in the Hall of Fame of FAMAS, the oldest award-giving body in the Philippines. These categories were for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director.
His other notable films are “Atsay,” Bwakaw,” “Aguila,” “Magnum .357,” “Masamang Ugat,” “Mariano Mison,” and “Rainbow’s Sunset.” The last mentioned film released just last year won for Garcia the Best Actor award at the 52nd Annual WorldFest in Houston, Texas.
Garcia was recently given recognition by the PMPC Star Awards for his unforgettable and remarkable contributions to Philippine Cinema.
He was among the 12 iconic names in showbiz included in “Mga Natatanging Bituin Ng Siglo.”
In an interview with Manila Bulletin in 2018, we asked Garcia why he continued working despite his already unparalleled achievement.
“As long as there’s work for me, as long as people still want to watch me, I will go on,” he said.
Garcia is widely known in the entertainment industry to be such a professional that he has no qualms waking up early for work even if he stayed up late taping a series of shooting scenes for a movie. At one point, he worked for 72 hours straight, he said.
As for the awards he had won, Garcia said that though always welcome, those are “just bonuses for jobs well done.” (With a report from Regina Parungao and MB Online)