Veteran actor Alex Komang passed away on Friday evening after being treated at Dr. Kariadi Hospital in Semarang, Central Java.
Alex, who was born in Jepara, Central Java, in September 1961, was reportedly being moved to the hospital on Thursday after previously being treated in Jakarta, to get him closer to his family members.
Chairman of the Indonesia Film Board, Kemala Atmodjo, told tempo.co that Alex would be buried in his hometown on Saturday.
He said Alex had never complained about his condition to his colleagues, but had been receiving medical treatment for about a month. "Doctors said he's suffering from liver cancer. It turned out that when he was being examined, it was at already stage 4," Kemala said.
Soon after the news broke that Alex had passed away at 8 p.m., condolences flooded social media.
"Mas Alex Komang has passed away […] Goodbye, Mas Alex. We feel a great loss and we'll miss you," filmmaker Joko Anwar tweeted.
Film director Hanung Bramantyo and actor Vino G. Bastian also wished him peace. "Peace forever. Hope God grants you the best place. Your great works will always be remembered. Rest in Peace," Vino says.
Alex, renowned for his trademark facial hair and shoulder-length hair, had starred in countless homegrown movies.
He started out his career in the early 1980s, when he decided to leave his hometown in Jepara to relocate to Jakarta to pursue his passion for the arts.
He first joined a theatre company named Teater Telur, now called Teater Tetas, before joining Teater Populer - led by the late director Teguh Karya, one of the most prominent people in the theatre scene who mentored Alex throughout his acting career. Soon, Alex was offered jobs to star in some of Teguh Karya's movies.
Alex won critical acclaim for his role as a musician who plotted the assassination of a Dutch official in a Teguh Karya-directed movie, Doea Tanda Mata (Two Mementos). The movie is considered one of the high points of Indonesian cinema and one of Teguh Karya's masterpieces. For his performance in Doea Tanda Mata, Alex won the Citra Award - the country's equivalent of an Oscar - in 1985 for best actor.
The success of his first movie launched his career, opening up the way for more hits like Secangkir Kopi Pahit (A Cup of Bitter Coffee) in 1985, Ibunda (Mother) in 1986 and Pacar Ketinggalan Kereta (Girlfriend Missing a Train) in 1989.
Recently, he had roles in a number of successful films like Ca Bau Kan in 2002, Laskar Pelangi (Rainbow Warrior) in 2008 and Mata Pena Mata Hati Raja Haji Ali (The Eyes and the Pen of King Haji Ali) in 2009.
In a 2010 interview with The Jakarta Post, he said that he never expected fellow actors to refer to him as a senior actor or legend. "To be able to give meaning to others is enough for me," he said.