06 March 2009

Mga Kababayan, Francis M Passes Away

Photo courtesy of mela sogono
It was reported today at around noon that multi-awarded Filipino rap icon Francis Magalona passed away at The Medical City hospital in Mandaluyong City. The 44-year old pinoy rapper succumbed to acute myelogenous leukemia, a few days after his fourth chemotherapy session and a few days before his supposed stem cell transplant.

The announcement was first made by actor Vic Sotto in the noon-time variety show Eat Bulaga! of which Magalona had been a host, after which a short tribute to the artist was aired. A minute of prayer was also observed in remembrance of Mr. Magalona in the rival show Wowowee with host Willie Revillame leading the prayer.

Born in 04 October 1964, Francis Durang Magalona is also known as FrancisM, Master Rapper, and The Man From Manila. Aside from being a prominent Filipino rapper, Magalona is also a songwriter, producer, actor, director, and photographer. He is credited as being the first Filipino rapper in the Philippines to successfully crossover to the mainstream. He was also popularly known as the "King of Pinoy Rap" and was considered one of the most idolized, celebrated and influential rappers within the genre.

A sibling of nine brothers and sisters, Magalona was the son of late Philippine movie screen legends Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran. The late Senator Enrique Magalona was his grandfather and her late grandmother was a faith healer named Pauliene.

Starting out as a breakdancer in the early 1980s, he followed in his parents footsteps and ventured out into acting, appearing in several Filipino movies; he branched out to emceeing and released the groundbreaking album Yo! in 1990 garnering the nationalistic hit Mga Kababayan (My Countrymen), making Yo! the first commercially released Pinoy rap album in the Philippines. By using a combination of politically conscious and thought-provoking rhymes in both English and Tagalog in the album, Magalona helped catapult Filipino hip hop from underground to mainstream status and also marked the birth of Makabayang or Nationalistic rap in Filipino hip hop.

Over the years Magalona has also branched out to numerous hosting responsibilities; and has been part of several television shows including the longest running daytime television show in the Philippines Eat Bulaga! and a VJ for MTV Asia. Magalona is MTV Asia's first Filipino VJ along with Regine Tolentino and Donita Rose. He worked with MTV from 1997 up to 2000. Aside from television, he also hosts live events and presentations.

Magalona was the recipient of the coveted MTV Pilipinas Video Music Awards Generations Award in 2006 "in recognition of his career that has spanned decades and broken boundaries, and for his music which continues to inspire generations of artists and music fans both here and abroad." He is the second honoree, the first having been singer Gary Valenciano at the 2005 rites.

Magalona is survived by his wife Pia Arroyo and their eight children: Unna, Nicolo, Francis Jr., Elmo, Arkin, Clara, Maxene and Saab.