by BOY VILLASANTA
Actor Rudy Fernandez died at 6:15 Saturday morning at his home in Joeylane Street in White Plains in Quezon City due to a lingering illness.
He was 55.
After years of suffering from peri-ampullary cancer, Rudy succumbed to death in the presence of his wife, actress Lorna Tolentino, and sons Renz Marion and Raphael Fernandez. He also has a son, Mark Anthony, also an actor, with former partner, actress Alma Moreno.
Minutes after the official announcement of his death, people from all sides of showbiz sent the sad news to one another via text or phone calls.
Two days before his demise, Lorna issued a statement that she was ready to accept his husband’s sad fate. “I am entrusting his life to the Lord,” said the actress in her message.
Yet, she hoped that Rudy would still miraculously recover.
During these last few months, Rudy and Lorna were shuttling between the US and the country for medical treatment of the actor’s cancer.
They were recently advised by the patient’s doctors in the US to stay in a Philippine hospital for treatment.
Fernandez was confined at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan for almost a month.
Before he was taken home, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, one of Rudy’s bosom friends, said during an interview that Rudy tried to fight his illness but couldn’t hide the real state of his health. He said Rudy’s tummy was already bloated and his eyes and skin were yellowish, all symptoms of the deadly cancer.
The last time Estrada paid Rudy a visit in the hospital, the patient was agonizing. “Hirap na hirap na ako. (I can’t bear this anymore),” Fernandez was heard complaining.
Meanwhile, Senator Ramon 'Bong' Revilla, another one of Rudy’s close pals, and colleagues in the film community, called on the public to say prayers for Fernandez..
Rudy’s final wish was to be laid to rest at the Heritage Park along C-5 in Taguig City.
Revilla told radio station dzMM Saturday that Fernandez's remains were immediately brought to the Heritage Park in Taguig City for the wake.
He said the public can pay their respects at the park.
Fernandez became famous for his action films such as "Baby Ama," and "Markang Bungo."
Fernandez has won best actor awards for his film, "Batuigas...Pasukuin si Waway," and "Victor Corpuz".
According to Dr. Jaime Ignacio, immediate past president of the Philippine Society for Gastroenterology, peri-ampullary cancer is the growth of tumor in the ampulla, a passage of bile duct in the intestines.
From the liver, bile duct supplies bile to the intestine, the liquid which digest the food in-take of a person. If the ampulla has a tumor, bile doesn't flow in the intestines resulting in inflammation of the bile duct.
Ignacio said that periampullary cancer is rare. For every 100,000 people, only 100 develop the illness. The cause of the condition is still unknown.
The following symptoms that might indicate periamplullary cancer: weight loss and bleeding of the ampulla which will be evident in a patient's stool. He added that the patient usually feels no pain.
Ignacio said this type of cancer is not easily detected and it may be too late for the patient once it is finally identified.
"Kadalasan kasi, inaakalang hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer o ibang sakit sa atay ang peri-ampullary cancer kaya hindi ito agad nalalapatan ng tamang lunas," Ignacio explained.
Treatment options include surgical removal of the tumor or loosening of the obstruction on the bile duct, technically referred to as endoscopic retrograde cholangoi-pancreatography.
In its later stages, peri-ampullary cancer cells spread to the liver. The survival rate is recorded at four out of ten people who are usually declared to be under remission if they remain cancer-free two years after the periampullary cancer was first discovered.
Ignacio advised that to be safe and on guard against periampullary cancer or any other liver condition, a person should see a specialist immediately if he or she manifests jaundice. -- with a report from Joey Villarama, ABS-CBN News