Celebrated Filipino singers surprised by the passing of OPM icon Rico J. Puno, who was 65, on Monday.
Puno’s daughter-in-law, Anna Puno, broke the news on Instagram as she expressed her grief and shock when she found out about the older Puno’s death.
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I am seized with deep emotional shock when I found out that our OPM King – Kuya Rico J. Puno has passed away this morning (manila time). Numbed with grief, I would like to call on all entertainers in the OPM Industry as well as his worldwide fans to stop for a moment and say a prayer to one of the most respected singers in the country. I cannot help but say it was serendipitous that Starmedia prepared a solo 40th Anniversary concert for him and a US tour with the OPM stalwarts and colleagues just recently. Little did I know that this is his Final Bow in the live entertainment world. We will forever miss the TOTAL ENTERTAINER…but his songs will forever cherish in our hearts.
“I am seized with deep emotional shock when I found out that our OPM King—Kuya Rico J. Puno has passed away this morning,” she said.
She cited his 40th anniversary solo concert prepared for him as his unexpected “final bow.”
“Little did I know that this is his final bow in the live entertainment world. We will forever miss the total entertainer…but his songs will forever cherish in our hearts,” the relative said.
Similarly, his daughter Tosca Camille-Ramos also related in an interview that he was still “in high spirits” the night before.
Puno said that doctors attempted to revive him twice, but failed.
In her post, she made a request to the late singer’s fans and to the entertainers in the industry to stop and say a prayer for him.
Top artists mourn for friend and colleague
Other veteran Filipino singers-actors who are close friends with the singer also posted messages of condolences and grief for his death.
Broadway star Lea Salonga said that she will never forget Puno’s “distinctive voice.”
Rest In Peace, Rico J. Puno. Your distinctive voice that lent itself to so much of the music of my childhood will not be forgotten.
To Tito Rico’s family, my deepest condolences.
— Lea Salonga (@MsLeaSalonga) October 29, 2018
Megastar Sharon Cuneta recalled the times she sang with him in many concerts on a lengthy Instagram message. She also remembered the moment he told her that she had one of the “prettiest faces.”
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I grew up with you. Actually singing in the same concerts that Vicor and Blackgold put together for all their artists, with you. I had no idea then that I was singing with one who would become a true LEGEND. The Total Entertainer, the funny, always down-to-earth guy who was always humble and in the forty years I’ve known you, never, ever changed or let success go to your head. I hated when you would make green jokes but loved that they made people laugh. You were a true gem of a talent, and person, dearest Kuya Rico. We and the whole entertainment industry have just been turned upside down by your passing. Thank you for being so sweet and loving to me. Daddy loved you and I know you loved him too and made him laugh, so thank you also for that. Mahal kita, Kuya. Salamat sa sinabi mo not just once na I had “one of the prettiest faces.” Muntik na akong maniwala pero mukhang seryoso ka naman. Huwag masyadong bastos ang jokes sa taas ha Kuya baka ihagis ka ni Lord pababa hala! Seriously, we will never be the same…we miss you already. Rest in peace, the great RICO J. PUNO. Our most loving and deepest condolences to your family. May God give them strength during this painful time. I will miss you dearly. I love you.
“Huwag masyadong bastos ang jokes sa taas ha Kuya baka ihagis ka ni Lord pababa hala! Seriously, we will never be the same…we miss you already. Rest in peace, the great RICO J. PUNO. Our most loving and deepest condolences to your family,” Cuneta said.
Both Cuneta and Salonga just performed at their 40th anniversary solo concerts prepared for them by the ABS-CBN network.
These anniversary events celebrate the singers’ 40 years in the Filipino music industry.
Meanwhile, veteran singer Jenine Desiderio, the mother of actress Janella Salvador, shared an old photo of her and Puno together singing for an occasion.
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R.I.P. to one of OPM’s legends, the one & only Rico J. Puno 😢 Thank you for the laughter, the music, all the advice when i was just starting in this industry, for making me a part of your countless shows, the friendship, simply everything. Rest in God’s loving arms. My sympathy & prayers to the family & loved ones of Coriks.
“Thank you for the laughter, the music, all the advice when i was just starting in this industry, for making me a part of your countless shows, the friendship, simply everything,” Desiderio said.
Similarly, Gary Valenciano also posted an old photo of him and Puno performing together and called him “kapitan.”
Rest in His peace kapitan. I’m in total shock at this news. 😔💔😢🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/W67P3dQDv5
— GARY VALENCIANO (@GaryValenciano1) October 29, 2018
One of the pioneers
Puno, who started his music career in the 70s, first became known for incorporating Filipino lyrics to American songs.
The most notable of this is his rendition of the contemporary classic “The Way We Were” by American singer Barbara Streisand.
Other songs that continue to be part of Filipino playlists are “Macho Gwapito,” “May Bukas Pa,” and “Magkasuyo Buong Gabi.”
Aside from singing, he also became popular for his tongue-in-cheek comedy performances on-stage and on TV shows.
In recent years, he starred in ABS-CBN’s comedy show “Home Sweetie Home” and a judge in the network’s talent show “Tawag ng Tanghalan.” —Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos