After a long struggle with breast cancer, director Marilou Diaz-Abaya passed away at 6:30 p.m. on October 8 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Taguig at the age of 57, reports. She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2007, which recurred in 2011, until it eventually reached stage four. She left behind her husband, filmmaker Manolo Abaya, and her two sons, Marc and David.

Diaz-Abaya, who is the founder and the president of the Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film Institute and Arts Center, is considered as one of the country’s best directors, with more than 20 movies and television shows to her name. She has won numerous accolades from the most prestigious award-giving bodies in the country, including the Gawad Urian, FAMAS, Star Awards, and the Film Academy of the Philippines.

The acclaimed director was also awarded the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes, an honor bestowed to distinguished Asians in the field of culture. She was also a 2005 Women for Peace co-nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"This is a very, very sad day for us and the movie industry. We lost not only a dear friend and family but also a rare gem in the industry,” actor Cesar Montano, who starred in her 1998 movie Jose Rizal, was quoted as saying in an article on "Direk Marilou fought the good fight. She will always be remembered for all her contribution to the industry and the excellence by which she rendered all those. She will always be an inspiration."

(Photo courtesy of

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