The death of a celebrity always causes great consternation among his peers and the fans of his particular field. That goes even more when the newly departed is considered as something of a pillar for his craft. So then is the case of OPM icon Rico J. Puno, Mister “Macho Guwapito” among many other memorable standards of Philippine pop songs. Active in the music industry since the 1970s, he remained a constant presence for fans who long for the good old days in terms of singing. But time and age catches up to everyone, and while he has done his best to continue performing, eventually one must say goodbye.
CNN Philippines reports that Rico J. Puno has passed away on the wee hours of Tuesday, October 30, at the age of 65. His family confirmed through his sister-in-law Anna Puno that the OPM legend went straight from a public event performance to St. Luke’s Medical Center, Taguig after complaining of breathing difficulties on Monday, October 29. Having checked himself in for examination, Puno was placed in intensive care where he stopped breathing and had to be revived. Not long afterwards, he suffered heart failure and no longer responded to resuscitation.
This sudden end was the sad culmination in what has been a gradual but significant physical decline in Puno’s health, which began earlier this year in April. Back in 2015 a heart attack necessitated open-heart surgery according to Anna Puno. This was followed by an angioplasty on his blocked arteries in December of last year, which eventually led to the installation of a pacemaker. But his health challenges never slowed Puno down in terms of his performing schedule and other showbiz commitments. He was to be one of the featured stars in next month’s Music and Laughter comedy concert series.
Anna Puno remarked that even with the obvious signs that her brother-in-law Rico J. Puno was going to be forced to slow down sooner or later, his death on Tuesday still felt too sudden and unexpected. “A month ago, we talked and he was very excited,” Ann said referring to his Music and Laughter performance in November, now no longer possible. “He was very healthy and I was so surprised when I received a call today that he passed away.” As news of his passing spread, plenty of recording artists in the country began an outpouring of condolences and tributes to Puno and his legacy of unforgettable songs, which also included “Magkasuyo Buong Gabi” and the inspirational “May Bukas Pa”, which will likely be a centerpiece in many future tributes.
Image from Push (ABS-CBN News)