Cultural activist Carlos Celdran dies at 46

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 8)— Cultural activist and old Manila tour guide Carlos Celdran has passed away, his wife confirmed on Tuesday. He was 46.

In a Facebook post, his wife Tesa said Celdran died "of natural causes."

"As the family is making arrangements to bring him home, no details can be announced yet," she wrote on her social media page.

Celdran moved to Madrid, Spain in January months after the Supreme Court upheld a 2012 ruling that convicted him for "offending religious feelings" over an "anti-Church" act he made nine years ago.

The activist in September 2010 interrupted an ecumenical service at the Manila Cathedral to protest against the Catholic Church's opposition to the then Reproductive Health Bill.

Dressed like national hero Jose Rizal, he stood at the main altar and shouted while raising a placard with the word "Damaso." It is the name of a priest who is one of the characters in Rizal's novel "Noli Me Tangere."

The Court of Appeals in 2012 found Celdran guilty of violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code. He had appealed the decision before the appellate court, the Metropolitan Trial Court, and the Regional Trial Court — but all denied his petition.

Celdran, who also worked as a performing artist and writer, graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in painting back in 1996.

He was also known for his piece "If These Walls Could Talk." The walking tour, a mix of history and immersive theater, sought to educate viewers and visitors about Manila's history between the 14th century and World War II.

Netizens, celebrities, and politicians paid tribute to Celdran on social media. Vice President Leni Robredo said she will "always be grateful" for the activist's contributions in raising Filipino cultural awareness.

"I will always be grateful for his support and appreciative of his contributions to raising the awareness of our fellow Filipinos regarding our history and culture," Robredo wrote on her Twitter page.