Dolphy fights for his life

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12:29 AM June 21st, 2012

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KING OF COMEDY Dolphy (Rodolfo Vera Quizon) who made millions of Filipinos laugh in a movie and stage career that spans seven decades is in critical condition at Makati Medical Center. INQUIRER PHOTO

Dolphy’s wish is for a short and swift close to his long-running road show.

“It’s easier for us to accept this because we don’t want to see him suffering,” said his son, actor-musician Ronnie Quizon.

“He once told me that he didn’t want to suffer—he wants to go swiftly,” Ronnie told Inquirer Entertainment. “I prefer him to go the way he wants to go, be it with a blaze of glory or in a whimper. I’m a dutiful son. I will try to grant his wishes, regardless of what I really want to happen.”

For almost seven decades, Rodolfo Vera Quizon made his countrymen laugh, but this time somber family and friends are appealing for prayers for the ailing “King of Comedy.”

The appeal was made after the comedian’s health took a turn for the worse on Wednesday.

“His kidney is no longer functioning properly,” his son Eric Quizon said. “We are still hoping for a miracle, but we will accept whatever God will give to us.”

Although his condition slightly improved on Monday, Dolphy was still in a “very critical” state, Eric said Wednesday.

Eric told reporters at Makati Medical Center: “His vitals are stable, but it can change anytime. Since his hemoglobin count decreased, he is undergoing a blood transfusion, too. His lungs and kidneys are very weak.”

Eric explained that his dad was now suffering from toxic metabolic encephalopathy.

In a televised interview, he said that his father had survived “10 bouts of pneumonia since his birthday last year.”

“He’s hanging on,” Eric said.

84th birthday

Dolphy, who will mark his 84th birthday on July 25, was rushed to the hospital 13 days ago due to a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), described as a “progressive illness.”

Eric said  his father had been “in and out of consciousness, but he is still fighting.”

“We hope that we will still have him with us,” he said.

In an earlier interview with the Inquirer, Eric said  the family had not made big plans for his coming birthday. “It all depends on his health.”

He said Wednesday: “I know that for the last couple of days that our fellow Filipinos have been praying for our father … the prayers give him strength.”

Eric’s brother Epy on Wednesday told the Inquirer that his family “greatly appreciates our countrymen’s show of love and support for our father. We need prayers during this trying time.”

Epy said that some of his siblings were flying in from the United States and Australia.

“We are all here. Just like any family that’s undergoing a crisis, it’s a very tough time for us.” Particularly since they had to undergo this problem under the glare of the spotlight, Epy said.

“But we are not complaining. We understand that it’s part of my dad’s work and that media people are also just doing their job,” he said.

Still hanging on

Last December, Dolphy first had his most serious health scare due to his COPD. Members of his family have since braced themselves for the worst, but still remain optimistic, said a source.

“When he had a heart bypass, 15 years ago, he didn’t want to discuss [his passing], but when he learned that he was suffering from COPD, he started talking to us …  he fixed everything,” Eric said.

Ronnie said that when the King of Comedy found out about his COPD in 2009, the comedian began talking to his kids separately.

“We’ve had our moments, especially when I go to his house to visit,” Ronnie shared. “Dad once said he would give something to me, but I told him,  ‘let’s not talk about that right now, Dad.’ I would try to resist this because it felt like he was already bequeathing things to me,” he said.

“Our relationship isn’t like what he has with my other brothers (actors) Eric or Epy or Vandolph, tender  and persistent. I’m not like that. We talk man-to-man. I open up to him and he listens and gives advice.”

Family and friends gathered at the hospital Wednesday, Eric said.  “Some children and grandchildren have donated blood,” he said.

Among those who were in the hospital on Wednesday was the comedian’s longtime partner, singer-actress Zsa Zsa Padilla.

In a previous interview, Padilla told the Inquirer that her partner’s illness had been heartbreaking.

Padilla had to quit the concert “Icons at the Arena,” held on Saturday, as she has been keeping Dolphy company in the ICU, along with his children from a previous relationship, Eric and Epy.

“Like anyone [in her situation], I am sure Zsa Zsa is devastated. But we are here to support her. We are turning to each other during this difficult time,” Eric said.

Overwhelmed

Ronnie said the family was overwhelmed with requests for prayers for the comedian.

“It gives me goose bumps just reading about it on social networking sites. I think it’s what’s actually keeping him alive. Even my classmates back in Grade 1 sent me messages. It’s really nice to know that my dad is well-loved. We’re really feeling the support right now,” he said.

“Everything is possible with God. Whatever happens to our father, we’re prepared, although it’s only now that we’re getting organized. Our priority is to keep him alive. Walang magandang gamot at magaling na doktor kapag kinuha ka na. Everything is within the Lord’s hand.”

Celebrities took to the Internet to show their love for the legendary comedian whose career spans at least 68 years in various media: from bodabil (live stage shows) to radio, from television to the movies.

Singer-actress Agot Isidro posted on Twitter: “Sending good vibes to the Quizon family. Prayers of healing and recovery for Mang Dolphy.”

Another singer-actress, Sharon Cuneta, appealed for prayers as well.

TV host Raymond Gutierrez posted on Twitter: “Prayers go out to Tito Dolphy and his family. Get well soon to our true National Artist.”

Recently, the campaign to declare the comedian a National Artist gained momentum once again.

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