Death of an artist’s artist

The Philippine showbiz industry lost a great musical icon just recently.

Master rapper, composer, TV host, photographer, designer, blogger (a Free Mind), and all-around artist Francis Magalona passed away on March 6, seven months after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

A true patriot best known for the monster hit song “Mga Kababayan Ko” (My Countrymen), Magalona was just 44 when he succumbed to cancer.

He, with his wife Pia‘s help, chronicled his tough battle with the Big C on a Multiply site titled Happy Battle, created to update his loved ones and followers about his health condition. Many religiously visited the site and even left encouraging messages.

When Magalona’s demise was announced rather surprisingly on the popular Philippine noontime show Eat Bulaga, the whole nation grieved with his family and friends. Hundreds of comments flooded the comments box of Magalona’s personal blog, offering prayers and sympathy to the Magalona family, as soon as the heartbreaking news was out.

The overwhelming outpouring of support was not at all surprising.

The former break dancer and teen actor was often described by his peers and fans as “pioneering,” “intelligent,” “profound,” “classy,” “articulate,” “sweet,” “maloko (humorous),” and a “true gentleman.” His children — eight of them — had said he was a “great dad,” who was very supportive and not stingy with his “I love you’s.” His blog entries on a Free Mind can attest to this.

Admired and respected for his deep love for his country, Magalona was also an entrepreneur with a nationalistic flair. His FrancisM Clothing Co. manufactures the in-demand 3 Stars & A Sun shirts, the design of which was primarily based on the Philippine flag (there are also other designs as well).

Francis M shall be sorely missed. He might not be around now, but his art will live forever.