MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - Film icon Amalia Fuentes has passed away, her relatives confirmed Saturday. She was 79.
Fuentes was brought to the hospital several days ago and succumbed to multiple organ failure at around 4 a.m., her nephew Niño Muhlach told radio DZMM.
"Lagi siyang nagse-seizure kahit nasa ICU (intensive care unit) siya," he said.
Fuentes has been "paralyzed" and "bedridden for the past 4 years" following a heart attack, he added.
The actress' grandchildren, Alfonso and Alyanna Martinez, also confirmed the news, saying Fuentes "has taken her last breath this morning."
"She is now reunited with her husband Joey Stevens, our mother Anna-Lissa Martinez and her ex-husband, our Lolo Bobby," they wrote in their social media accounts.
"We have prayed for nothing but peace for her and now she can finally rest. Our family only asks that you respect our privacy during this time and join us in praying for her soul," the siblings added.
Fuentes' family has yet to make arrangements for her wake, said her nephew.
The veteran actress, whose real name is Amalia Muhlach, used the last name of her stepfather for her screen name, Fuentes. The eldest of in a brood of 3, Fuentes lost her father in war, compelling her to become an actress at 15 and be her family's breadwinner.
She was propelled to fame after winning "Mr. and Ms. Number One," a nationwide talent search launched by Sampaguita Pictures in 1956.
In the same year, Fuentes, who has Spanish-German ancestry, debuted in the 1956 comedy-drama film "Lydia" and was soon dubbed the "Elizabeth Taylor of the Philippines."
In her heyday, Fuentes churned out 10 or more films a year and worked with the most sought-after leading men at the time, including Fernando Poe Jr., Joseph Estrada, Eddie Gutierrez and Romeo Vasquez.
She also collaborated with actors Susan Roces, Gloria Romero, Vilma Santos, Christopher de Leon, Lorna Tolentino, Rudy Fernandez, and Eddie Garcia, among others, in her nearly 6-decade career.
Fuentes, fondly called "Nena" by family and close friends, married her love team partner Vasquez in 1965, but they separated after 4 years.
Their only daughter, actress Liezl Martinez, died after a long battle with cancer in March 2015. Liezl has 3 children with her husband, actor Albert Martinez.
Fuentes' second husband was American businessman Joey Stevens, They were married for 28 years before getting a divorce. Their adopted son, Gerard Stevens, died of cardiac arrest last year.
Fuentes also briefly acted with her younger brother, Alvaro "Cheng" Muhlach, father of actors Aga and Arlene Muhlach.
The screen icon last appeared on TV in the 2013 primetime series "Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala," which starred Judy Ann Santos, Sam Milby and KC Concepcion.
Fuentes passed away hours after the demise of another show business titan, Philippine theater stalwart Tony Mabesa.
— With a report from Leah C. Salterio