The Philippines wept on Tuesday as the country's most popular comedian, Dolphy, died of pulmonary disease. He was 83.
Born Rodolfo Vera Quizon, Dolphy was regarded as the country's "King of Comedy" in a career that spanned seven decades.
His passing was announced by the ABS-CBN network, the station that broadcast his hit sitcom Home Along Da Riles in the 1990s, about a poor widower struggling to raise his children in the slums.
Dolphy made millions laugh even during the country's darkest moments, including the 20-year rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, which ended in 1986. In the sitcom John En Marsha, which ran from 1973 to 1990, he played the poor husband to a rich wife, who poked fun at his loud-mouthed mother-in-law, giving comedic relief during Marcos's martial-law regime. The show was so popular it was revived in the form of eight movies over the past two decades, introducing younger generations to Filipino humour.
While he never married, Dolphy fathered at least 17 children with various women, some of whom also went on to enter the showbiz industry.
President Benigno Aquino rallied Filipinos while Dolphy was on his death bed, calling the actor a "revered icon of the Philippine movie industry". * AFP