MANILA, Philippines – “Your time is up laddie.’’
So wrote William “Billy’’ Esposo in his Easter column after his complicated health problems took a turn for the worse and gave him that “one foot in the grave’’ feeling in mid-March.
Esposo, who wrote the column “As I Wreck this Chair’’ for the Philippine Star, died from complications brought about by a chronic kidney disease at 12:08 a.m. Sunday at the Makati Medical Center. He was 64.
President Benigno Aquino III went to the hospital before dawn Sunday to condole with Esposo’s family, a TV news report said.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. William M. Esposo,’’ Undersecretary Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, said in a text message.
On Feb. 26, 2011, the President conferred the Presidential Legion of Honor Awards on Esposo with a rank of a commander in recognition of his contributions to the restoration of democracy in 1986.
Esposo headed Corazon C. Aquino’s media bureau during the 1986 snap presidential elections. Aquino would assume the presidency following the February 1986 people’s revolt that toppled strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
Nearly two years later, Mrs. Aquino appointed him director-general of the Philippine Information Agency in January 1988. He received the Most Outstanding Director General Award for introducing a new communication strategy at PIA at the latter’s 25th anniversary in February last year.
“It’s very heart warming. It’s very nice to be back after 25 years and to receive an award at the same time. It makes it a doubly enriching experience,’’ Esposo said.
In his March 31 column, Esposo wrote that he had his Ides of March on March 15 when his complicated health problems “collaborated to give that `one foot in the grave’ feeling in your gut.’’
He related that the enlargement of his heart “took a turn for the worse,’’ and this was on top of his chronic kidney problem, diabetes, hypertension, bone cancer and constricting arteries that “worsen heart and kidney functions.’’
“These are excellent reasons for going and we thought we saw that happening last March 15 — The Ides of March, no less — when I felt a massive loss of energy and stamina from my body,’’ he wrote.
On March 23, he checked in at the Makati Medical Center for tests and “emergency coping mechanisms to decongest the heart and lungs.’’
“The urgency in the tone of my doctors when they advised me to immediately check in at the Makati Med demonstrated the seriousness of my problem. Heart and lungs congestion for a kidney transplant patient qualifies one to the ranking among the WALKING DEAD,’’ he wrote.
“From History and the Bible, I’ve moved on to Zombie land. However, my manner of narrating this sharing shouldn’t be misconstrued as less than a serious view of it. When I felt that much life exiting, there is only one rational conclusion to be made — your time is up laddie,’’ he added.
In August last year, he launched his book, “Surviving Chronic Kidney Disease: The Billy Esposo Kidney Diaries” in Greenbelt 4, Makati City, with the President as main guest.
“I’m sure that this book will find its way into the shelves of many nephrologists and become a useful resource for many of our countrymen,’’ Aquino said. “This book might come as a surprise especially as it gives an account of not only the physical trials, the terror of cyberspace he had to endure but also the spiritual and emotional trials that came with it.’’