Hilario López Millán, goodbye to a good man

Hilario was my friend.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
16 August 2023 Wednesday 22:25
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Hilario López Millán, goodbye to a good man

Hilario was my friend. The last WhatsApp we met was less than a month ago: as on so many previous occasions I sent him photos of my daughter, just turned three, and he responded, as always, with a compliment. A different one each time. "My girl is going to be a Liz Taylor," he would say. A good man has just left, the most painful category for a farewell. Death does not understand age, social status or any moral category, but when you find out that you will never see, laugh, cry, hug, joke or sing together with a good man, the pain is different. Tears flow with a band, particularly those of injustice, as if the scythe cares about what one has done in life.

I met Hilario López Millán when I started working with Albert Castillón at the now-defunct Onda Rambla radio station in Barcelona. It was 1998. From four to five in the afternoon, the program Tarde de todos, later Tarda de tots, was at the top of any radio or television space that treated the tabloids and the characters that inhabit it with respect. Thanks to Hillary. To his infinite sense of humor, his incomparable experience and to the fact that when a young journalist dialed a telephone number and introduced himself to the character, from a Goya award to a Prince of Asturias, everyone responded with "If you call on behalf of Hilario , whatever you need". That was Hilario. He knew everything about everyone because they told him or because he lived it with them.

His generosity knew no bounds. Whoever writes this has consulted him dozens of times over the years about truths or lies about the most relevant characters of the heart. His memories had the quality and veracity, therefore, of a photo, of a newspaper library video. He was the most important human newspaper library that this sector of journalism has known in Spain. And if he did not know the detail from his own hand, he would answer: "Call so-and-so, she was a good friend and she will tell you what happened."

Hilario was a good man, moreover, because he didn't offend anyone, although he treasured more secrets than anyone else. He was a professional from another generation, from other times less scoundrels and butchers.

Albert Castillón received a call today from Pilar Blanco, a journalist who worked with the eternal Luis del Olmo, to tell him the bad news. This is how Castillón explains why Hilario has left us: “As you know, she was always very aware of her husband, Alberto, who is going through a serious health patch. She was devoted to him to such an extent that he neglected himself; Hilario used to eat a lot of vegetables, he led a very healthy life. In recent weeks he went down to the supermarket at any time to buy whatever was necessary, without caring that they were falling 40º over Madrid and without remembering the last time he had drunk a glass of water. Yesterday he passed out. Alberto is in a wheelchair and Gabriela, the girl who takes care of them at home, was not there, so a neighbor helped him get into bed. When Gabriela arrived, she called the ambulance and at the hospital they diagnosed her with extreme dehydration that had reached her heart. They tried their best but… They couldn't get it back. He said it was anemia or age fatigue, but in reality, Hilario had been dying for weeks.

Albert Castillón himself, a close friend of Hilario López Millán, warned his people in Hellín (Albacete), his hometown and where he has a street. He lived near Plaza de Castilla and his aching body already rests in the San Isidro funeral home in Madrid and it will be his beloved Alberto –today completely devastated– who will finally decide whether or not he will be cremated. There is no doubt that Hilario will rest in his town, together with his mother, as he wanted.

I don't want to say goodbye, however, with pity but rather remembering the black humor jokes that we passed each other when exchanging messages. "Hilario, I'm having lunch with [write here the name of a Spanish actor from the 40s, who died many years ago] and he sends his regards." To which he could respond something like “I saw him the other day, precisely, in the cabaret where he performed [choose any renowned vice-tiple who has also disappeared], and we went to dinner with [two other names]. The best I can do is remember him full of life and include him – as the main star, he would have liked – in my next pranks with a friend like him. I won't find it, of course, but no one can keep me from imagining what it would be like to say "I'm with Hilario having a Martini and he tells you that..."