MANILA (UPDATED) -- Donna Villa, who, together with husband, filmmaker Carlo J. Caparas, brought to the silver screen true-to-life massacre movies, passed away on Tuesday. She was 57.
Villa died around 3 p.m. at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital in Manila following a bout with cancer, as confirmed by DZMM's Ahwel Paz and Jobert Sucaldito.
Villa was said to have been confined at the hospital since Christmas Day due to complications with her health.
After the news of her passing broke, actress Vivian Velez was among the first celebrities to express their condolences. She wrote on Facebook: "Remembering Donna's wonderful and gentle soul will forever remain in our hearts. May she rest in peace."
Though she started out as an actress, Villa was perhaps best known for producing Caparas-directed crime films such as "The Vizconde Massacre (God Help Us)," "The Annabelle Huggins Story – Ruben Ablaza Tragedy (Mea Culpa)," and "The Cecilia Masagca Story: Antipolo Massacre (Jesus Save Us!)," to name a few.
Collectively referred to as the "Golden Couple," Villa and Caparas were widely credited for ushering in the so-called "Massacre Era" of the local film industry back in the early 1990s.
In an interview after the Supreme Court stripped him of his National Artist Award, the highest distinction bestowed upon Filipino artists, Caparas said that he had no qualms over the decision as he already has everything he could hope for: his wife, Donna, and kids.
"A thing of the past sa isip ko, di ko naman kailangan ang kahit na anong medalya," he said. "Dahil naibigay na kung ano ang gusto ko, si Ms. Donna Villa at ang mga anak ko. Daig pa nun ang medalya ng anumang karangalan pa na puwedeng ipagkaloob sa akin."
Back in 2013, the high court invalidated former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's 2009 order giving the prestigious award to Caparas and four others. It ruled that the former president disregarded the rules in selecting the awardees.
Villa leaves behind Caparas and their two kids: son CJ and daughter Peach.