Former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has passed away "peacefully in his sleep" on Thursday morning, June 24, due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.
"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," said the family statement, read by his sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada.
"No words can express how broken our hearts are and how long it will take for us to accept the reality that he is gone," she continued. "Mission accomplished ka, Noy. Be happy now with dad and mom. We love you and we are so blessed to have had you as our brother. We will miss you forever, Noy."
According to Abellada, Aquino had been in and out of the hospital even before the pandemic. The ex-president had been getting dialysis thrice a week in preparation for a kidney transplant, reveals former spokesperson of the Aquino family Deedee Sytiangco.
He was rushed this morning to Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City, but was pronounced dead at 6:30 a.m.
As the son of democracy icons — the late president Corazon Aquino and former senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. — Noynoy Aquino’s first foray in politics was in 1998 when he was elected as Representative of the 2nd district of Tarlac.
After being reelected to the same post in 2001 and 2004, he ran for the Senate in 2007 and won. As a senator, he chaired the Senate Committee on Local Government and passed laws to uplift the standards in public infrastructure and the amendment of the government’s procurement act to avoid corruption in bidding for government projects.
Aquino served from 2010 to 2016 as the 15th president of the Philippines. During his stint, the country achieved record economic growth of 6.2% every year, secured the first-ever investment grade rating, and took China to court at the Hague to dispute its territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea. On July 12, 206, the Arbitral Court ruled in the favor of the Philippines in a landmark decision.
But his presidential legacy was also pockmarked by a string of controversies that also weighed heavily on the image of the Liberal Party. These issues include the government's slow response to Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, the Mamasapano massacre in 2015, and the slow pace of public investments among others.
After his presidency, Aquino largely retreated from the public view and mostly declined to comment on the current administration.
The bachelor Aquino is survived by his sisters Ballsy, Kris Pinky, Viel and their families.
He was 61 years old.
Photos by Val Rodriguez