Former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III died on Thursday morning. He was 61 years old.
According to a statement read by his sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada on Thursday afternoon at Heritage Park, Aquino was pronounced dead at 6:30 a.m. due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.
"No words can express how broken our hearts are and how long it will take us to accept the reality that he is gone," Aquino-Abellada said.
Abellada also said her brother had been in and out of hospital even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aquino, son of the late President Corazon Aquino and slain senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., was rushed to the Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City on Thursday morning, reports said.
His sister, actress Kris Aquino, arrived at the hospital at around 9 a.m. Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and former Senator Mar Roxas — Aquino's party-mate in the Liberal Party — were also seen at the hospital.
"It's a sad day," tweeted former lawmaker Erin Tañada, another Liberal Party member.
At around 12:40 p.m., an ambulance carrying Aquino's body departed from Capitol Medical Center, according to a report of DzBB’s Luisito Santos. A Philippine flag was attached at the back of the ambulance.
A report by Super Radyo DzBB’s Allan Gatus, citing Liberal Party member and Quezon City Representative Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, said Aquino’s remains were transported to Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City.
Mga labi ni dating Pang. Noynoy Aquino, sa Heritage Park sa Taguig City dadalhin, ayon kay Rep. Jose Christopher "Kit" Belmonte. | via @allangatus— DZBB Super Radyo (@dzbb) June 24, 2021
Noynoy's cousin, Malabon Mayor Lenlen Oreta, described the former President's passing as "heart breaking."
"The passing of former President Aquino is truly a heart breaking loss for me as I look up to him as a big brother who I can approach to for any advice and counsel. He is not only my karate instructor but my idol when it comes to shooting," Oreta said on Facebook.
In December 2019, Aquino was confined in the intensive care unit of Makati Medical Center. However, details about his confinement were not disclosed.
Before becoming president in 2010, Aquino served as a member of the House of Representatives and Senate.
Aquino announced his candidacy for president in the 2010 elections in September 2009, a month after his mother Cory — a democracy icon who was catapulted to Malacañang following the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution — died.
Aquino's administration was known for its “Daang Matuwid” tagline, an advocacy for good governance. The “No Wang-Wang” order was one of the first policies that he implemented after assuming the country’s top post.
It was during his administration when the Philippines adopted the K-12 education program and implemented the controversial Reproductive Health Law.
It was also during his administration when the Philippines brought the territorial dispute against China to The Hague. The Philippines eventually scored a historic victory against China, invalidating Beijing’s massive claims in the South China Sea.
Before holding the highest position in the Philippines in 2010, Aquino also served in the Legislative department. He represented Tarlac’s second district in the House of Representatives from 1998 to 2007, after which he ran for senator and served in the Upper House from 2007 to 2010.
The Senate flag is at half-mast on Thursday to honor Aquino. —KBK, GMA News