MANILA - Members of the Eigenmann family came together to give a statement on Monday afternoon, hours after actor Mark Gil passed away at 8 a.m.
The Eigenmanns were visibly emotional as Gil's brother, fellow actor Michael de Mesa, read aloud the family's joint statement revealing, for the first time, that Gil had been battling cancer.
Gil, who would have turned 53 on September 25, is survived by his wife, Maricar, their daughter Stephanie Cheri, and his five other children from three previous relationships.
Seated with de Mesa as he read the statement were parents Eddie Mesa and Rosemarie Gil, sister Cherie Gil, Maricar, Mark Gil's children Gabby, Maxine, Ira, Andi and Stephanie Cheri, and his nephews Ryan and Geoff.
De Mesa revealed that Gil, Raphael John Eigenmann in real life, had been diagnosed with liver cancer in 2012 and found out it was terminal in June this year.
However, as Gil had requested, they kept his condition a secret.
The Eigenmanns also requested that they be given time to mourn in private.
Here is the Eigenmann family's full statement, as read by de Mesa:
"We, the Eigenmann Family, would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to everybody who has shown their concern for Ralph these past few weeks.
"It is with much sorrow that we announce that he passed away this morning at exactly 8 a.m. He died peacefully in his sleep in the arms of his wife, Maricar, and surrounded by family.
"Ralph was first diagnosed with liver cancer two years ago, but it was only in June of this year that he found out that it was terminal. It was Ralph’s request that this should not be revealed, and we did not question his decision.
"To those who have asked us about his condition, especially his colleagues, the press and fans, we apologize for not being forthright, but we also ask for understanding.
"We would, however, like everyone to know that he spent his last days in comfort and in no pain. In fact, he was in good spirits and humor, and enjoying the presence of his entire family. Even then, he was still bringing us together, as he always has, and we are now all complete.
"Until the very end, he was a warrior. Ralph faced death with courage and grace, while still bringing laughter to the room. That was his gift: the ability to make those around him better.
"Ralph had told us that he only wanted to spend and cherish the remaining precious days of his life in the company of his family and closest friends. He also wished that we be allowed to grieve his passing in private.
"We all request that the public please respect his wish and allow us to mourn his passing accordingly.
"Please allow us this time as well to remember Ralph: husband, son, brother, father and grandfather.
"For the outpouring of love for Ralph that we’ve received on his behalf, we thank you. It is deeply appreciated.
"For those who’ve known and loved him throughout his career in cinema, and television, we will hold a celebration of his life and work. We will announce the details at a later time. But for now we would like to assure everyone that as long as Filipino films are being watched and appreciated, there will always be Mark Gil.
"To quote a line from 'Batch '81,' one of the many movies he made his own, and characteristic of Ralph himself:
"'Sa simula't katapusan ay kapatiran.'"