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'Pepito Manaloto' director Bert de Leon passes away

Veteran television director Bert de Leon has passed away.

On Sunday, his family and friends from the showbiz industry are mourning the passing of the director of the weekly sitcom "Pepito Manaloto" and its prequel "Pepito Manaloto: Ang Unang Kuwento."

Direk Bert's niece Jonna de Leon confirmed the news with GMA News Online via Facebook messenger.

Jonna also mourned the passing of her Tito as she shared a post from Direk Bert's brother Jun Toti de Leon announcing the unfortunate news.

"Mahal na mahal kita tito.. mahal na mahal ka namin dito.. Ang sakit sobra napakalungkot ng paglisan mo pero makakapag pahinga ka na," she wrote in the caption.

"I'm so sorry that you've been through a lot of pain bago ka umalis.. You've had a great fight Tito," she added.

"Thank you for all the love and care you've given to my family mostly sa aming Ina.. Never mo kami pinabayaan and I'm so sorry na wala kami sa tabi mo to help you but we prayed a lot for your healing tito," she wrote. 

"Rest in Peace tito.. I promised you ako na bahala kay Mamay.. we love you so much Tito Bert De leon," she ended her note.

His fellow director, Joey Reyes, also mourned his passing sharing a post on Facebook as he remembered his colleague and friend.

"You were always kind. You were always supportive of others. You were always strong at heart, remaining positive and hopeful," he wrote.

"You have always remained a friend to your peers. You will be loved and remembered always, Direk. Have a safe trip home to the waiting arms of our Father. Goodbye, Direk Bert de Leon," he added.

Other celebrities including Sexbomb dancer Aira Bermudez and singer Richard Reynoso have also written messages on Facebook as they mourn his passing.

Last July, Direk Bert was sent to the hospital after having a heart attack. According to his Instagram post, he underwent angiogram and angioplasty.


A post shared by Bert de Leon (@direkbert)

Last October, his colleagues in showbiz headed by Rodel Gonzales, Joey Benin, and Lito Fugoso set up a virtual fund raising event to help him with his medical needs after he tested positive for COVID-19.

He also previously helmed shows on GMA including longest-running noontime show "Eat Bulaga," and gag show "Bubble Gang." 

He is survived by his partner Annalyn Nakpil Jomeo and their 5-year-old daughter Yanna—JAB, GMA News.