(UPDATE) Philander Rodman Jr., the estranged father of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, passed away on Tuesday in Mabalacat city, Pampanga, his Filipino family based there confirmed.
Jasmine Rodman said his grandfather died due to prostate cancer. He was 79.
Jasmine posted a Facebook message reaching out to Dennis, informing the former Chicago Bulls star forward of Philander's death.
Philander's daughter, Darling Marie, created a Twitter account for his father.
"Made this twitter acct for a reason. Dennis Rodman I hope you get to read my msg to you about your #1 fan, your father," the account's description indicated.
Philander was an Air Force enlisted member, who fought in the Vietnam War.
He left Dennis' mother in 1965, eventually settling in the Philippines, a move that Dennis took hard and led to his family's struggles.
In his 1996 book "Bad As I Wanna Be", Dennis wrote about his disdain toward Philander.
An Associated Press article in September 1996 said Philander hadn’t seen his son for 26 years at that point.
Referring to an interview three months earlier, Philander had nothing but glowing words for Dennis.
“To me, he is not a bad boy,” Philander said. “He is like me, the things he do . . . If he wants to color his hair green, purple or whatever, I mean, I can’t see anything wrong with it. He wants to have a tattoo, that’s his own.”
“I think a person should do what they want to as long as they do not hurt anybody else,” he added.. “I haven’t seen him hurt anybody else by what he does, so I am all for Dennis.”
When Dennis traveled for an exhibition game to Manila in May 2006, he turned down Philander's attempts for a personal meeting.
Philander eventually met his sports superstar son when Dennis visited Manila again in July 2012, albeit for a short time.
He was thankful for the chance to have a quick talk with Dennis after the All-Star Basketball Challenge at Mall of Asia Arena.
“We met three minutes, I saw him. Busy signing autographs,” Philander said, adding that Dennis promised to keep in touch.
“He asked me if I have a website where he could talk to me. I said none and just gave him my cellphone number,” added Philander, who nearly wept after Dennis publicly acknowledged him in front of thousands of Filipino basketball fans.
At the time, Philander said he wished he could spend more time with his son to explain why he had to leave Dennis and his mother.
“I love my son. I just want to talk to him, about all the wrong things he said about me, talk to him so we can get this fixed,” he said.
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