Basilio’s spirit lasted until the end

Days before he died, Michael Pablo Basilio of ‘Ele’ele remained in his usual mischievous spirits, jokingly threatening to sue The Garden Island for not getting his age correct in an earlier story.

He was 22, not 23, he scolded. After at least four brushes with death, Basilio finally succumbed, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, at Wilcox Memorial Hospital, friends and family at his side.

A miracle baby diagnosed at birth with ventricular septal defect, a hole in his heart that caused extra blood to be pumped into his lungs, Basilio proved doctors wrong on at least four occasions when they said he would die.

Initially, doctors told his parents, Romualdo “Rhomy” and Marcelina “Cely” Basilio, that he was too weak in his earliest years for them to even consider performing any surgery on him.

At age 3, Michael Basilio had his first surgery, at Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children, and doctors warned his parents that he might not survive it.

He did.

In 1986, during another operation, doctors said they almost lost him again. He was not ready to go yet.

In 1997, he went into a coma, again during surgery. The coma lasted a month, and doctors feared that even if he emerged from his comatose state he could have brain damage.

He emerged, and there was no permanent brain damage.

Diagnosed with hemocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer, earlier this year, he had been confined to Wilcox Memorial Hospital for several weeks before he died.

He was not in pain, and went peacefully, his mother said.

Born July 26, 1983 at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital at the West Kauai Medical Center, Basilio was active in the Holy Cross Youth Ministry, and with Hanapepe Pop Warner football.

He was a 2001 graduate of Waimea High School and a 2005 graduate of Kaua’i Community College, on leave from his job as a front-desk clerk with Suite Paradise.

He also worked at Inter-Island Helicopters, did a lot of volunteer work, and was an ambassador for the Blood Bank of Hawaii.

His obituary is on page A8 of today’s paper.

Family members and friends are selling T-shirts to defray some of his medical expenses.

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