Ronnie Nathanielsz, 81
SPORTS JOURNALIST Ronnie Nathanielsz died of a heart attack Saturday, Nov. 12. He was 81.
Nathanielsz, born in Sri Lanka and granted Philippine citizenship in the 1973, was one of the country’s most recognizable and controversial sports media personalities. He wrote columns for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Manila Standard Today (now Manila Standard), and was involved in several sports promotions, particularly in boxing for which he is better known.
His break came when then President Ferdinand Marcos appointed him to act as a liaison officer between the government and the organizers of the fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in the Philippines, known as the “Thrilla in Manila.”
Nathanielsz’s closeness to the Marcoses made him a controversial figure in media circles. He recalled in one of his columns that the gift of citizenship, bestowed on him by Marcos, was the highest honor he had ever received (“Ronnie Nathanielsz dies at 81,” News.Abs-Cbn.com, Nov. 12, 2016).
En route to the fight of Manny Pacquiao against Jesse Vargas, Nathanielsz suffered chest pains and was rushed to the hospital where he remained under intensive care. A week after, his family finally decided to pull him out of life support.
Friends and colleagues remembered Nathanielsz. Fellow sports journalist Dyan Castillejo remembered Nathanielsz as a colleague who was full of passion for his work. For sports analyst Quinito Henson, his passing “pains me because he’s been a pillar in the world of sports, someone who has covered sports very passionately. He’ll certainly be missed,” Henson said (“Veteran sportscaster Ronnie Nathanielsz dies”, CNNPhilippines.com, Nov. 12, 2016).
Ricky Agcaoili, 72
JOURNALIST AND editor Ricky Agcaoili died peacefully in his sleep, Wednesday, Nov. 23, after a long battle with pneumonia. He was 72.
Agcaoili was among the founding editors of The Philippine Star. Aside from The Star, he also edited various newspapers such as The Manila Times, Manila Bulletin, Tribune, Times Journal, Times Mirror, Philippine Daily Express, and the Evening News. He also worked as a consultant at Business Insight Malaya.
Agcaoili also served as editor-in-chief of the Presidential News Desk during the terms of President Fidel V. Ramos and President Gloria M. Arroyo.
His remains will be brought to the Garden of the Divine Word Chapel, Christ the King Seminary Compound and will be in-urned Sunday, Nov. 27. (“Veteran journalist Ricky Agcaoili dies at 72,” Interaksyon.com, Nov. 23, 2016)