Carlos Celdran, 46

Carlos Celdran. (Facebook grab)

Performance artist and tour guide Carlos Celdran has died from an apparent heart attack in Spain on Tuesday, according to reports.

Tesa, the wife of the 46-year-old Celdran posted the news of her husband’s death on social media. Celdran’s family is arranging for the return of his remains to the Philippines for the funeral and burial.

Before his death, Celdran organized the Intramuros walk tours that promoted the historic place in Manila.

Celdran became controversial for his so-called Damaso protest against the Catholic Church’s opposition to the reproductive health bill.

On 30 September 2010, Celdran posed as Filipino national hero Jose Rizal and held up a placard with the words “Damaso” inside the Manila Cathedral that disrupted an ongoing service. Damaso is the villainous priest in Rizal’s famous novel “Noli Me Tangere.”

The Church sued Celdran and the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court (MMTC) found him guilty of violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code for offending religious feelings in January 2011.

Celdran appealed but the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 32 affirmed in August 2013 the MMTC’s ruling jailing him for two months and 21 days. He brought the case to the Supreme Court (SC) which upheld the RTC’s decision in August 2018. Celdran again appealed to the SC.

At the young age of 14, Celdran worked as a cartoonist for Business Day. He took up fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States and graduated in 1996.