|Sammy Lagmay. File photo
MANILA (2nd UPDATE) -- Comedian Sammy Lagmay, who is known for his roles in various ABS-CBN sitcoms, died on Wednesday after a three-year battle with an illness. He was 55.
Lagmay passed away at his home in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan at around 3 p.m., his sister Mylene Lagmay-Mariano said in a text message to radio dzMM.
He is survived by his wife and their children, who are all based in the United States.
The wake for the actor-comedian will be tentatively held St. Peter Memorial Chapels in Quezon City.
Since 2010, Lagmay had been suffering from complications from diabetes, which were initially left untreated due to financial difficulties.
By his own admission, Lagmay said he had shrugged off subsequent symptoms of his illness, until his kidney failure, which forced him to undergo dialysis for years.
The former comedian, in a recent interview on the ABS-CBN talk show "Showbiz Inside Report," recalled that the treatments drained his savings, prompting him to call for financial aid in July 2012 through appearances on radio and TV programs.
Prior to his ailing health condition, Lagmay had been visible on television as a comedian with appearances in sitcoms such as "Pilya En Da Pilot," "Oki Doki Doc," "Pwedeng-Pwede," "Aalog-Alog" and "Abangan ang Susunod na Kabanata."
Her also starred in "OK Fine Whatever," an ABS-CBN sitcom aired in 2003, where he also took on the role of assistant director.
Lagmay started his showbiz career as a messenger and a utility personnel at IBC-13 in the 1980s. This led him to various stints as a film extra, before finally landing a role in "Chicks to Chicks."
Raised in Basilan and the eldest of four siblings, Lagmay, with his career earnings, built a home in Batangas with his own family.
His consecutive projects as a comedian allowed him to invest in a business, which unfortunately didn't take off. Lagmay recalled that the failed venture prompted his wife and children to leave for the United States.
"Naghiwalay kami nang ligal. Noong nalugi na ang negosyo, nag-isip siyang pumunta ng Amerika. Hindi na ako kumontra. Pinayagan ko na rin sila kasi alam kong may future sila sa Amerika, kaysa dito sa akin. Medyo tagilid na ang hanap-buhay ko. Namuhay akong mag-isa for 10 years," he said in an interview in September.
It was his sister Mylene who stayed with Lagmay through his worsening health condition until he passed away Wednesday.
Late last year, the comedian said his greatest regret was not being able to express his love for his children.
"Ang pinanhihinayang ko lang sa ngayon, 'yung parang hindi ko naipadama sa kanila 'yung pagmamahal. Kasi 'yung sa akin noon, akala ko okay na 'yung suporta at supply kung ano 'yung kailangan niyo.
"Pero 'yung maramdaman nilang mahal mo sila, parang hindi ko nagawa, parang may distansya ako sa kanila. Syiempre kung mahal mo ang mga anak mo, ipapakita mo," he said at the time.
With his ailing condition then, Lagmay said his only wish was to spend time with his children.
"Sana magkita pa tayo ulit. Mahawakan ko kayo, mayakap, masabi ko sa inyong mahal ko kayo. I mean, 'yung pagkukulang ko sa pagmamahal, siguro pipilitin kong ibigay kahit sa ilang saglit ng buhay ko," he said.