MANILA -- Veteran opinion columnist and author Nelson Navarro passed away at 8 a.m. on Sunday, his family confirmed. He was 71.
His family described him as an "activist, a brilliant writer, an avid world traveler, and an enchanting raconteur who passionately believed in his country."
"Throughout his life, he remained an advocate of the truth, of living life to the fullest, and happiness whilst never losing his boyhood wonder of such pursuits," they said.
"While we grieve the loss of a brilliant man, we celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an inspiration for others."
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.
Navarro, a former student activist who joined protests against the Marcos administration during the First Quarter Storm, was implicated in the August 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing and was charged with subversion while on a student trip to the United States.
Navarro nonetheless continued his studies in the US and graduated with a master's degree in international affairs at Columbia University in 1976.
He was granted political asylum after 10 years, according to his memoir "The Half Remembered Past."
"FQS turned me into an exile. It forced me to the kind of life I wanted — to remain true to my values and to be a man of the 20th and 21st centuries. I was a concerned individual who would fight for a good cause but who also loved life. (In America), I fell in love with music and literature. For the first time, I was free. I felt good about Marcos and reviled him at the same time. Accidentally, he gave me my freedom from my own country and its parochialism," he said in an interview during the launch of his book in 2013.
Raised in Bukidnon, Navarro was a graduate of business administration at the University of the Philippines Diliman but chose journalism as his career after he became editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian.
Navarro eventually became a columnist at the newspapers Malaya, Manila Standard and Philippine Star.
Apart from writing columns, he also wrote and edited books, among these were the biographies of sportsman Moro Lorenzo, journalist Max Soliven, educator Nemesio Prudente, former vice president Emmanuel Pelaez and singer-actress Armida Siguion-Reyna.
Navarro was also a co-anchor of ABS-CBN talk show “Options” in the '90s.