"It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice".
This phrase was made famous in the TV talk show Salam Canda, hosted by Ebet Kadarusman. Ebet also used to switch between English and Indonesian while addressing his radio audience in Good Pagi, Selamat Morning.
Ebet died from stroke just before 6 a.m. on Saturday at Hasan Sadikin Hospital in Bandung, after having been in coma since Tuesday.
Lente Melani Kadarusman, 52, Ebet's niece, said a medical team had recommended an operation but that this had been rejected by the family due to his poor physical condition.
Lente said Ebet, who was born in Tasikmalaya on July 7, 1936, (another source says he was born in Jakarta) had suffered strokes three times since 2001, the third of which proved fatal. Ebet is survived by his five children from his first wife, all of whom live abroad - Andre Kadarusman in Singapore, Valerie in Sydney, Iryani in Melbourne, Julia in New York, and Michelle in Canada.
Ebet married a second time, to a widow with five children.
The remains of Ebet were buried at Sarijadi cemetery in Bandung on Saturday.
Comedian Aom Kusman, who joined mourners paying their last respects, said the veteran entertainer deserved appreciation for his deeds. Aom said had been acquainted with Ebet since childhood. "He would always look out for his juniors. We must follow his deeds."
Ebet's career as a host began in Australia, where he lived for 30 years before deciding to return to Indonesia in 1986.
In November 1990, Ebet hosted a radio program and was popular with his Good Pagi, Selamat Morning. He then appeared in Salam Canda, produced by local private TV station RCTI, a year later.
Singer and legislator Tere applauded Ebet as a true entertainer who would always bring cheers on his TV show. "Who is not familiar with Kang Ebet's jokes? I had watched his performances since my childhood," she said.
Tere said she and other entertainers associated in Charity Club Indonesia had collected donations for Ebet and other ailing entertainers, including Gesang, Waljinah and Mus Mulyadi.