The Philippines lost a great figure of sports journalism and a source of world-class wisdom, as renowned sports media personality Ronnie Nathanielsz passed away early Saturday morning, November 12, 2016.
The veteran sportswriter who connected the eras of boxing legends Gabriel "Flash" Elorde and Manny Pacquiao, has died at the age of 81.
Nathanielsz’ family pulled him off of life support in San Francisco, California, a few days after he was confined at Mills-Peninsula Medical Centers in Burlingame, California. He had been there since Thursday, November 3 after he suffered a heart attack while he was en route to the boxing card headlined by the Manny Pacquiao vs Jessie Vargas WBO welterweight title fight in Las Vegas, which he was set to commentate.
After this, the golden voice of Philippine boxing suffered a cardiac arrest. The news was first reported by ABS-CBN and confirmed by Rappler through Nathanielsz's daughter Rachael Nathanielsz.
"Told him yesterday that if he wants to let go already, just come home to Jesus," said Rachael Nathanielsz. "He would always tell me 'I've lived a full life.’” She added.
Ronnie Natanielsz is known for his in-depth analysis of boxing matches, especially those of Senator Pacquiao’s.
When Pacquiao rose to fame, Nathanielsz was one of the first local media personalities to refer to the world champion as "a national treasure." He became a go-to pundit by TV and radio shows whenever Pacquiao or any Filipino boxer was up for a major bout.
He also served as Muhammad Ali’s liaison officer when the legendary boxer went to the Philippines in 1975 for the “Thrilla in Manila."
Friends, the World Boxing Organization, the Philippine basketball community, media personalities such as Dyan Castillejo, boxers such as Nonito Donaire, colleagues, and many others have expressed their condolences for the media legend.
We here at TNP also mourn the passing of this sports journalism giant.
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