Former senator, mayor Sonny Osmeña passes away at 86

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FORMER senator and Toledo City mayor John Henry "Sonny" Osmeña passed away Tuesday, February 2, 2021. He was 86.

Toledo City Community Affairs and Development Officer Ferliza Contratista confirmed this in a Facebook post Tuesday night, quoting Annie Osmeña-Aboitiz, the former senator's sister.

"Senator John Henry Osmeña passed away at 2:45 p.m. this afternoon at Maryville Condominium and was immediately cremated," the post stated.

"A Holy Mass through Zoom will be announced soon," it added.

What caused Osmeña's death is not yet known as of this posting Tuesday night.

The former Toledo City mayor beat coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at the age of 85 last year, leaving a Cebu hospital on July 8, 2020 after 20 days of confinement.

On November 3, 2019, Osmeña called a press conference to debunk rumors that he had died, revealing that he had been diagnosed with stage 2 cancer in July 2019 and had undergone chemotherapy sessions.

Osmeña, brother of former Cebu governor Emilio "Lito" Osmeña and cousin of former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, was born on January 17, 1935 to parents Emilio Osmeña and Ma. Louisa Renner. He was married to Lucy Urgello and had a son John Gregory Jr., a former Cebu provincial board member.

His political career started in 1963 when he was elected Cebu City councilor. In 1968, he became Cebu City vice mayor and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1969. He was elected to the Senate in 1971.

In 1986, he was appointed officer-in-charge mayor of Cebu City and was again elected senator in 1987, then in 1992. He became the representative of Cebu's Third District in 1995 and again won a Senate seat in 1998.

He served as Toledo City mayor from 2013 to 2019. (SunStar Cebu)