F. Sionil Jose, National Artist for Literature, Dies at 97

'He wrote stories and he believed in them.'
Photo/s: F. Sionil Jose/Facebook

National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose died in his sleep Thursday at the hospital, where he was awaiting surgery, his family said. He was 97.

Jose is known for novels tackle the Filipino people's quest for sovereignty and social justice like the five-part Rosales Saga. His family said Jose wanted this written about him: "He wrote stories and he believed in them."

He posted on Facebook about his "brave heart" and how it disproved his thoughts about being agnostic. Jose turned 97 last Dec. 3.

"For 97 years you have been constantly working patiently pumping much more efficiently and longer than most machines. Of course, I know that a book lasts long too, as the libraries have shown, books that have lived more than 300 years," he said.

"Now, that I am here in waiting for an angioplasty, I hope that you will survive it and I with it, so that I will be able to continue what I have been doing with so much energy that only you have been able to give," he said.

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Jose was named National Artist for Literature in 2001. Five of his works won the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. He received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts in 1980.

More recently, Jose was criticized for his disapproval of Rappler boss Maria Ressa winning the Nobel Peace Prize. He also drew flak for favoring the ABS-CBN shutdown, calling its demise "good for Philippine democracy."

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