MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) - The entire nation is grieving over the death of Dolphy, the king of Philippine comedy, who succumbed to multiple organ failure Tuesday night.
News of his death sent shockwaves across social networking sites, with netizens expressing their condolences to the Quizon family.
President Benigno Aquino led in paying tribute to Dolphy.
He said Dolphy changed not only the entertainment industry but national consciousness as well.
"Sa pamamagitan ng kaniyang sining, pinalawak ni Dolphy ang ating pananaw, at binigyan tayo ng kakayahang suriin, pahalagahan, at hanapan ng ngiti ang mga pang-araw-araw na pangyayari sa buhay ng bawat Pilipino," he said.
Many Filipinos -- including some who were not born yet when Dolphy played on TV the role of a poor husband to a rich wife, who poked fun at his loud-mouthed mother-in-law -- sent their prayers and condolences through microblogging site Twitter.
"The laughter that you gave us will always be in our hearts and it will never be forgotten. RIP Dolphy," said @blessky5.
"If there's one thing people fear most about death - it's being forgotten. And this, I think will never happen to Dolphy. His legacy lives on," said @AerolFausto.
"Okay lang kung umiyak ako para kay Dolphy eh napatawa niya nga ako buong buhay niya," said @ohgeasiegeaz.
Born Rodolfo Vera Quizon, Dolphy was widely regarded as the country's "King of Comedy" in a career that spanned seven decades playing colourful comedic roles, from a cross-dressing homosexual to a poor jack of all trades.
He made millions laugh even during the Philippines' darkest moments, including the brutal 20-year rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, which ended in 1986.
Dolphy became a household name on "Buhay Artista" produced by ABS-CBN in the 1960s, on "John en Marsha" in the 1970s, and his major comeback sitcom "Home Along Da Riles" that marked his return to ABS-CBN in the 1990s.
ABS-CBN, in a statement, said Dolphy is "the symbol of every Juan de la Cruz who loves his children and can make light of life's trials."
His fellow celebrities were stunned by Dolphy's death.
Host and actress Kris Aquino said Dolphy's long-time partner, singer and actress Zsa Zsa Padilla sent her a text message at 8:50 p.m. to state simply, "He just passed away."
"Prayers and love for the Quizons, respect and gratitude for our King of Comedy," Aquino said on her official Twitter account.
Former President Joseph Estrada told radio dzMM that Dolphy made millions of Filipinos laugh with his own brand of comedy. He also believes that Dolphy should have been declared National Artist before he died.
Veteran actress Boots Anson-Roa said Dolphy's death is a "national day of mourning."
However, she added that his passing is also cause for relief.
"In a way, parang I heave a sigh of relief dahil nakapahinga na siya, kasi hindi madali 'yung pinagdaanan niya, pati 'yung sa pamilya niya," Anson-Roa told radio dzMM. "It is good to know that he's resting in peace. Tapos na 'yung paghihirap niya."
The Makati Medical Center, where Dolphy waged his battle against various complications arising from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said the actor died at 8:34 p.m.
The hospital said Dolphy died "due to multiple organ failure, secondary to complications brought about by severe pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and acute renal failure."
Many of his fans have started flocking to the MMC to pay their tribute to Dolphy.
His remains have been brought to the Heritage Park in Taguig, where Vice-President Jejomar Binay visited to pay his respects to the late comedian.
Dolphy's remains will be brought later to ABS-CBN, Binay said.
He added that the schedule for his internment will be determined at a later time.
Binay is a godfather of Dolphy's son, Vandolph.
Another son of Dolphy, Eric Quizon, gave a brief statement to media early Wednesday morning.
"Heaven is a happier place with him there," he said.
"In behalf of my father, please smile at the person standing right next to you," Quizon said. "Comedy is dead, but long live comedy." - with a report from Agence France-Presse