MANILA—Palace officials, government and business leaders remembered the legacy of Philippines' richest man Henry Sy Sr. as they expressed their condolences, Saturday, calling the taipan the "father of modern Philippine retail."
Politicians lauded the 94-year-old tycoon who died "peacefully in his sleep" for his contributions to the country's economy.
"Mr. Sy was a visionary and a pillar of the Philippine economy who believed in the potentials and opportunities of the country and pursued them with dedication, passion, and hard work till their fruition," Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Sy is recognized as the "Father of modern Philippine retail" for making 'malling' a delightful experience as part of the urban living in the Philippines," he said.
"A grateful nation respects and admires the man for his lasting legacy which he attributed to hard work," he said.
Lawmakers also thanked the Sy patriarch for providing jobs for thousands of Filipinos and for helping spur the country's economy.
"His businesses have helped provide livelihood to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and propel the economy into what it is today," Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement.
"Thank you for believing in the Filipinos and in transforming their lives," he said.
"Definitely a mover and a game changer of the Philippine economy," Senator JV Ejercito said in a tweet.
Businessman Wilson Lee Flores remembered the SM Group founder as an "immigrant from who had worked hard, honestly, humbly to build many business enterprises and donated to the philanthropic causes beneficial to the progress of Philippines."
"I was fortunate to have been his friend ever since I was a student and to have heard his many stories, ideas," Lee, who owns the Kamuning Bakery, said.
Sy, known for transforming a simple shoe shop into a global conglomerate, died Saturday morning.
He was survived by his wife and 6 children.
The public viewing of Sy Sr.'s remains is scheduled from January 20 to 23 at the Heritage chapels, while interment is on Thursday, January 24, his son Hans said in a statement.
"We are truly grateful for the outpouring of sympathy on the passing of our father Henry Sy Sr. May we respectfully ask for privacy today to give family time to reflect & finalize arrangements," he said.