Veteran actress Cherie Gil dies at 59

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 5) — Multi-awarded actress Cherie Gil has died in New York City, her son Raphael Rogoff confirmed in an official statement. She was 59.

“Our family would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to all those who expressed their concern for Cherie during this difficult time,” he said in an Instagram post on Sunday.

According to Rogoff, Gil “passed away peacefully in her sleep” at 4:48 a.m. EST on Friday at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York.

He said that in October last year, Gil was diagnosed with a rare form of endometrial cancer but requested that this information be kept private.

“Cherie fought bravely against her illness, with grace and strength. Despite her struggles, she always managed to exude courage and never lost her trademark sass, wit, and infectious humor, or her larger-than-life personality,” he added.

Actor Sid Lucero, Gil’s nephew, earlier confirmed the news to GMA News.

Lucero posted a tribute photo for her aunt with the words “I love you” and “big hug”. 

Talent manager and a close friend of Cherie, Annabelle Rama, also posted on Friday a plain black photo on Instagram captioned, “Cherie Gil just passed away at 5pm today. Please pray for her.”

Born Evangeline Rose Gil Eigenmann, she began her acting career at the age of 9 and has since appeared in over 100 films such as the controversial “Manila By Night”, epic “Oro Plata Mata”, and “Sonata,” where she starred as an operatic diva in her declining years.

She was a mainstay of the hit TV shows "Germspesyal" and "Champoy," and recorded two songs that are now classic OPM — "Boy (I Love You)" and "Sing Me Your Song Again Daddy."

But it was her exemplary villain roles in movies and on television that gained her the tag "La Primera Contravida."

Every Filipino knows by heart her most iconic line from the 1985 blockbuster film "Bituing Walang Ningning" opposite Megastar Sharon Cuneta: "You're nothing but a second rate, trying hard copycat!"

In the movie, Sharon played Dorina Pineda, an aspiring singer and a fan of an insecure recording star Lavinia Arguelles, played by Gil. The two did a remake of the scene in 2019, but switched roles.

On Saturday morning, Sharon posted an Instagram photo of her holding what seems to be Cherie’s hand.

“What will I do without you now, Love? My true screen partner, a true friend, ninang of Simone… I miss you so terribly and know it will only get worse. Be at peace in God’s loving arms, my Cheech… I’ll see you again someday. I will love you with all my heart, forever. Thank you for everything,” Sharon said on her post. 

Born to a family of film luminaries, Cherie was the daughter of Eddie Mesa and Rosemarie Gil, and the sister of Michael de Mesa and the late Mark Gil.

She was once married to violinist Rony Rogoff. She had three children, Bianca and Raphael Rogoff, and Jay Gil with actor Leo Martinez.

In February, Cherie graced the cover of MEGA Magazine flaunting her shaved head.

“Out with the old, in with the new, but this time, with even greater purpose. One of the most celebrated actresses in Philippine cinema, #CherieGil shakes off her iconic villainess persona to start a new chapter of hope and positivity,” captioned MEGA. 

READ: Who's Afraid of Cherie Gil?