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Veteran comedian Palito passes away at 76

The big screen's legendary 'corpse' has passed away after decades of eliciting laughter from Filipino audiences. Reynaldo Hipolito, 76, nicknamed Palito (matchstick in Spanish) for his small frame, died about 7 a.m. Monday, a report on dzXL radio said. GMANews.TV confirmed this with Philippine General Hospital spokesman Dr. Michael Tee. The report said the veteran comedian died from a lung condition. He was transferred to PGH on April 6 from the Imus Family Hospital where he was rushed after complaining of severe abdominal pain.

According to an earlier report, failed business ventures and financial mismanagement left him with little fortune. On the other hand, his riches were in the form of his friends and fans in the industry, who were quick to help the Hipolito family in their time of need. Mark Escueta of Rivermaya was one of those who spread this request on Facebook at 1:38 p.m. on April 6: "Legendary actor/musician, Palito, is currently confined in a hospital in Imus, Cavite and he badly needs financial assistance in order to fully diagnose his condition. He is in need of a CT Scan ASAP. Please contact us at 09163451874 if you wish to donate. Any amount will help him greatly. Please share this post with your contacts. Thank you so much." "For those who want to donate to or just visit Palito, he's at PGH, Ward 3, Bed 42. Thank you everyone for the tremendous support," Escueta posted the next day. Palito, who at 21 chose the stage over his studies at Arellano University, was eventually discovered for his comedy-perfect small frame. From playing bit roles in slapstick shows, he eventually starred in countless films in the 80s and 90s, including parodies of Sylvester Stallone like Rambuto (of Rambo) and No Blood (of First Blood). It was Palito who thought of these titles. Like any other rightful star, Palito earned the right to make demands. His, however, were limited to specifying what kind of coffin he would be placed in. "Naging suplado nga ko, namimili pa ko ng ataul. Hindi ko na mabilang kung ilang beses na kong nalagay sa ataul," he said in a 2007 interview by PEP. [See: Palito: The 'corpse' is still alive] The former star had been making a living by playing late night gigs as a drummer at a bar in Sta. Cruz. According to his son Jhune, Palito arrived home on April 6 very weak, unable even just to undress on his own. "Ayaw pa nga padala sa hospital," read Jhune's text message in an earlier report from Philippine Entertainment Portal. Palito had said in the 2007 interview that he was still healthy, despite his skin and bone appearance and his smoking habit, which he said was his only vice. — Carmela Lapeña/RSJ, GMANews.TV
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