Former bodybuilder and actor Roland Dantes dies

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2009 08:59 PM | Updated as of Mar 19 2009 05:03 AM

Internationally-renowned martial arts action star and former bodybuilder Roland Dantes died of heart failure Monday night.

Before his heart ailment, Dantes was suffering from gout last last week, which caused a swollen right foot.

Dantes was brought to the Philippine Heart Center but was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to his nephew, rapper Chris Dantes, his uncle Roland, or Rolando Tangco Pintoy Dantes in real life, was able to attend a gathering of all masters of martial arts in the world Sunday evening.

“He was with his American as well as Filipino friends and associates during a party. But I noticed in the photo sent just after he died that he was wearing tight shoes, and that aggravated his foot condition,” said Chris.

The popular arnis expert was also able to attend a party with bosom friend and arnis aficionado Rusty Santos last Thursday. “But he was so hungry the first food served them was crispy pata. Since he was hungry, he ate it heartily, and the next day, his gout acted up again,” informed Chris.

The next thing Chris and household members saw was a swollen right foot caused by gout.

“Then Tito Rollie did some heavy weights at the gym. He also pulled up some instruments to firm up his muscles, and that was the start of it. The next day, he was already burning with fever, but he just took it for granted and just took paracetamol,” said the musician.

On Sunday, Chris found Roland slouched on his seat with blood coming out of his nose.

“My uncle was murmuring something like, ‘Lord, please help me’ but it was so quiet. We waited for his fever to subside, but then it didn’t disappear so the following day, we brought him to the hospital,” recalled Chris.

Dantes won the "Mr. Philippines" bodybuilding title five times between 1969-1980 and placed in "Mr. Universe" and "Mr. World" competitions.

Dantes was famous for his appearance in the Hollywood production of “The Pacific Connection” with foreign stars Nancy Kwan, Guy Madisson and other artists.

He was also memorable in the National Artist for Film Eddie Romero’s “Banta ng Kahapon,” where he played a mute gun-for-hire of politicians. He had a string of Filipino films to his credit including “Lapu-Lapu” topbilled by Lito Lapid.

Recently, he did an important role in a foreign film with Filipino-Hawaiian-American actor Mark Dacascus.

At the time of his death, Roland was busy organizing arnis workshops all over the Philippines, and was preparing a video and book version of his native martial art to be produced and published in Australia.

Dantes’ remains lies at the Marian Memorial Chapels along Marcos Highway in Antipolo City. Interment will be on Sunday. He was sixty four.