MANILA – Even before the Covid-19 outbreak last year, former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III had been in and out of the hospital.
When the virus spread, his employees avoided leaving the Aquinos’ Times Street residence in Quezon City for fear of infecting him.
The 61-year-old former president died of renal disease secondary to diabetes on Thursday morning, according to his elder sister Pinky Abellada.
Abellada stated that the official time of death was 6:30 a.m. at Capitol Medical Center, which is close to the Aquinos’ home.
“It is with profound grief that on behalf of our family, I am confirming that our brother, Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III, died peacefully in his sleep,” Abellada told reporters at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig.
She was accompanied by her sisters Bally Cruz, Viel Dee, and Kris Aquino, but none of them spoke.
She also expressed gratitude to the physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel who cared for her brother, as well as the nuns and priests who prayed for his restoration.
“No words can express how broken our hearts are and how long it will take for us to accept the reality,” Abellada said.
Some supporters headed to the hospital after learning of the former president’s death.
Flowers were also laid in front of the Times Street residence.
Aquino’s remains had been transported to the Heritage Memorial Park in an ambulance.
Abellada stated that wake information would be provided once the result of his Covid-19 test is released.
Kit Belmonte, QC 6th District Representative, also went to the hospital and was the one who alerted the media that the body would be taken to Heritage.
“Nakikiramay tayong lahat (We sympathize with the family). It’s a sad day for the nation,” Belmonte said.
According to Abellada, “Noy” was a very private person who they frequently encouraged to respond to critics.
“Mission accomplished, Noy. Be happy now with Dad and Mom. We love you and we are so blessed to have had the privilege to have you as our brother. We’ll miss you forever,” Abellada said.