Legendary Filipino musician Rico Puno has died at the age of 65. The singer — who was also a comedian, actor and television host — passed away due to cardiac arrest on Tuesday morning this week.
Rico Puno had struggled with heart issues before. Back in 2015, he had a triple-bypass heart surgery. He also underwent an angioplasty last December 2017 and recently got a new pacemaker.
Rico Puno died at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City. His manager issued a statement revealing that Rico Puno had attended hospital this past Sunday for a regular checkup, but was told he needed to be confined for further observation and he died two days later.
Rico Puno is a legend of OPM — Original Pilipino Music — and is credited with putting the country on the map when it comes to music.
He was seen as a pop star, and started out channeling American superstars and covering American hits — including Barbra Streisand’s The Way We Were and Marvin Gaye’s Baby I’m For Real.
His performance and singing skills resulted in him leading the Manila Sound, a musical genre in the Philippines that began in the mid-1970s in the country.
Fans, including many famous faces, have rushed to pay tribute to him on social media.
RIP Rico J. Puno, definitely a Filipino music legend. Your distinctive voice and music I grew up with will bever be forgotten. Your humor and fun persona will be missed.
— JV Ejercito (@jvejercito) October 29, 2018
I grew up with your songs dear koriks. You will forever be my icon. Rest in peace Rico J! #namamasyalpasaluneta
— kim atienza (@kuyakim_atienza) October 29, 2018
Rico J. Puno's dead ??? What ?????
— manyao (@manao200) October 30, 2018
I am shocked to know that Rico J Puno is dead. #RIPRicoJPuno
— Grez (@gclaveriaphi) October 30, 2018
can't help but to cry!!!!!
RICO J. PUNO IS DEAD😭😭😭😭😭😭
May your spirit rest in peace, the greatest comedian and actor I ever watched!😢💔
— 𝕚𝕔𝕒 (@danicaxzmae_) October 30, 2018
So, it’s true, just heard on tv that Rico J. Puno is dead. :(
— CHRISTINE ✵ (@SuperGirlTin) October 29, 2018
Puno had a high profile in the Philippines. His career included being a spokesperson for San Miguel beer, the host of Lunch Date, a television variety show, and an actor on the sitcom, Home Sweetie Home.
He was also involved in local politics, representing Makati City in the Manila area from 1998 to 2007. He was re-elected in 2016 after losing in 2010 during a vice mayor race. He had plans of running again next year, despite his heart issues.
Rico Puno was born Enrico De Jesus Puno on Feb. 13, 1953, and grew up in Manila. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, but pursued music after he failed to find a job after graduation.
Rico Puno was 65 years old at the time of his death.