Cherie Gil suffered from ‘rare form of cancer,’ says her children

Cherie Gil’s health ordeal began in October 2021 when she was first diagnosed with “a rare form of endometrial cancer,” according to a statement collectively issued by her children.

“Cherie was diagnosed with a rare form of endometrial cancer in October of last year after deciding to relocate to New York to be close to her children. She then underwent treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,” said the statement.

Endometrial cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the endometrium or the uterus.

Gil died in New York on 5 August at age 59.

Much admired for her skills and talent as a character actor, Gil was born into a family of prominent performing artists that includes her father Eddie Mesa, mother Rosemarie Gil, and brothers Michael de Mesa and the late Mark Gil.

She had three children — Bianca and Raphael Rogoff with husband Israeli violinist Rony Rogoff, and Jay Gil from a previous relationship with actor Leo Martinez.

photograph S courtesy of ig/macherieamour

End of an era

“It’s the end of an era now that you’ve left us,” Sharon Cuneta said, addressing Gil.

Cuneta and Gil co-starred in the 1985 film Bituing Walang Ningning, in which they played rival singers. Its most famous scene had the veteran Lavinina Arguelles (Gil) telling off the rising Dorina Pineda (Cuneta): “You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard, copycat!”

Five years earlier, in 1980, Gil played Kano, a lesbian drug dealer in Ishmael Bernal’s Manila By Night. In 1982, she portrayed Trining Ojeda, a naive provincial lass traumatized by the war in Peque Gallaga’s Oro, Plata Mata.

She had only one scene in Mike de Leon’s Citizen Jake — for which she won Best Supporting Actress at the 42nd Gawad Urian Awards in 2019.

Gil came to be known as La Primera Contravida or the quintessential female antagonist in Philippine movies.

She went on to distinguish herself as an excellent character actor in countless TV series.

Later on, she also found her element in the theater, playing four characters in the 2018 local production of Angels in America.

A high point in her career was being cast in Lav Diaz’s Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (Lullaby of the Sorrowful Mystery), which won the Silver Bear (Alfred Bauer Prize) at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival, whose jury head and her idol, Meryl Streep, joined her for a photo-op.

With additional reports by Raye Sanchez

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