MANILA, Philippines - Acclaimed filmmaker Mario O'Hara was taken to an undisclosed hospital on June 20 due to leukemia, or cancer of the blood cells.
As reported by ABS-CBN News, film critic Noel Vera said the news of Mario's condition was confirmed by his niece, Danice O'Hara.
Direk Mario was diagnosed with the illness just last week. He is undergoing chemotherapy according to his brother Jerry, as reported by PEP. And as per doctor's advice, no visitors are allowed to see the director at this time.
Direk Mario, who started out as a radio actor at the age of 17, most recently helmed "Sa Ngalan Ng Ina" (2011) the comeback drama series of Superstar Nora Aunor, who also led the cast of one of his most notable works, "Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos" (1976). He also had an entry in the Director's Showcase of the 2010 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, "Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio."
His musical, "Stage Show," is one of the upcoming featured productions of Tanghalang Pilipino. It's also the official entry to the National Theater Festival in November.
Tanghalang Pilipino, through its social media accounts, asked for prayers for Direk Mario.
The 65-year-old award-winning director is also a notable screenwriter, collaborating with the late Lino Brocka in the celebrated films "Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang" (1974), "Insiang" (1976), and "Rubia Servos" (1978). He likewise appeared in the latter's films such as "Stardoom," "Tubog Sa Ginto" (both in 1971), "Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang," and "Gumising Ka... Maruja" (1978)-all of which earned him best supporting actor nominations at the FAMAS Awards.
The Cinemanila International Film Festival honored him in 2000 with a Lifetime Achievement Award. And just last year, his work "Babae Sa Breakwater," was declared Best Film of the Decade at the Gawad Urian.