Multi-awarded film director Marilu Diaz-Abaya succumbed to cardiac pulmonary arrest brought about by her seven-year battle with breast cancer at 6:40 p.m. yesterday at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City. She was 57.
Widely considered as the premiere female director of the country, Diaz-Abaya is best remembered for her take on 2007’s “José Rizal,” the biopic starting Cesar Montano.
She was also the mother of musician and actor Marc Abaya, who told local media recently that his mother’s cancer had regressed.
He said in a previous statement that he was trying to put a very strong front for Diaz-Abaya who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.
The vocalist of Kjwan band told “pep.ph” in June that Diaz-Abaya was “ready to go.”
“It’s only a matter of time. Only God knows what will happen to my mom,” he said, adding “Lagi niyang sinasabi sa kanyang interviews that she’s ready to go. Handa na raw siya. But she has survived it for the past seven years.
“Ayokong maramdaman niya na ako ang natatakot. I need to be strong for her. Alam ko na she feels how worried I am for her. But like any mom, she will understand and lagi naman niya akong maaasahan since we live in one place lang,” he said.
Diaz-Abaya founded the Antipolo-based film school Film Institute and Arts Center.
Her first feature film was “Tanikala” in 1980.
She graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Master of Arts in Film and Television in 1978 before completing a film course at London International Film School in the same year.
Apart from “Jose Rizal,” Diaz-Abaya directed critically acclaimed films as “Brutal,” “Karnal (Of the Flesh),” “Alyas Baby Tsina,” “Sa Pusod ng Dagat,” and “Muro Ami.”—with a report from Bryan G. Villasana
By KAYE VILLAGOMEZ