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Celebrated writer, poet Cirilo Bautista passes away at 76

National Artist for Literature Cirilo Bautista has passed away at the age of 76.

The De La Salle University Department of Literature, where Bautista used to teach, confirmed the news in a Facebook post.

"It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of our beloved professor/mentor and perhaps the greatest poet in the annals of Philippine literature—Dr. Cirilo F. Bautista," the post read, without providing additional information on the details of his death.

A celebrated writer and poet, Bautista had been a hall of famer at the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, where he won nine awards for his poetry, fiction and essay works.

He had also served as judge for the prestigious award since 1980.

Bautista also received five National Book Awards from the Manila Critics Circle, and the Gawad Balagtas in 1997 from the Unyon ng mga Manunulat ng Pilipinas.

Bautista graduated magna cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor's degree in literature, and garnered the same distinction when he finished his master's degree in literature at Saint Louis University in Baguio City.

He finished his doctor of arts degree in literature at the De La Salle University.

Bautista served as literary editor of the Philippine Panaroma, a member of the Board of Advisers and Associate of the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of the De La Salle University, and senior associate director of the University of Santo Tomas Center for Creative Writing and Studies.

In 2014, Malacañang conferred on him the title of National Artist for Literature  for his contributions to Philippine literature.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque extended the Palace's condolences to Bautista's family, friends and colleagues.

"We remember him as one of the country's most passionate authors, whose devotion to the study of Literature paved the way for more Filipinos to develop their creative talent," he said.

"Dr. Bautista's contribution to the continuous growth and progress of Philippine Literature will always be inscribed in the pages of our nation's history. His teachings and literary works will live on forever," he added. — Erwin Colcol/LBG/BM, GMA News