Nineteen years after his death, Rico Yan is still a household name.
Born Ricardo Carlos Castro Yan on March 14, 1975, Rico graduated a cum laude from De La Salle University in 1997 with a degree in Marketing Management. It was at one of these fast food stalls in his alma mater that Rico was asked to attend an audition for a modeling gig.
After his television commercial debut, Rico was then launched via Star Circle Batch 1 (now ABS-CBN’s Star Magic) in November 1995. From then, Rico skyrocketed to fame with his roles in Gimik (1996), Mula sa Puso (1997) and Saan Ka Man Naroroon (1999).
One-half of a famous loveteam
Over his seven-year career as an actor, Rico was paired with two actresses – Judy Ann Santos and Claudine Barretto.
In a Magandang Buhay interview on November 2018, Judy Ann opened up about her relationship with the late actor whom she worked with in Kay Tagal Kitang Hinintay (1998) and Gimik: The Reunion (1999). “Hindi lang talaga kami umabot sa puntong nagkaseryosohan,” she said. (We never reached the point wherein we were serious with each other.)
It was Rico’s other love team pairing that caught the attention of fans.
Rico and Claudine first starred together in Madrasta (1996) and Flames The Movie (1997), but it was only in 1998 that they started developing feelings for each other while working in Dahil Mahal Na Mahal Kita (1998).
When the couple announced their break-up after four years together, fans and supporters were shocked. The two had looked happy during the promotions of their hit movie, Got to Believe.
Just several weeks after their publicized breakup, Rico was found dead on March 29, 2002 while on vacation in Palawan.
Almost two decades after the actor’s death, Claudine still considers Rico her “always and forever.”
In December 2015, Claudine also shared on her Instagram a letter showing Rico’s caring and sweet side as a boyfriend.
In February 2021, Claudine has again opened up about losing Rico in a vlog with bestfriend Janelle Jamer. “Mahal ko pa rin siya. Hindi mawawala ‘yon. I think hindi nawawala ‘yung (love) kapag namatay na ‘yung tao. Kahit hindi na kami, nandoon pa rin. Lalo pa yatang lumabas kung ano ang nararamdaman mo towards the person kapag nawala na ‘yung tao,” the actress admitted.
(I still love him. It will never be gone. I don’t think you’ll lose the love you have for someone even when that person dies. Even if we’re not together anymore, the love is still there. The feelings even became more apparent when you lose that person).
More than just a pretty face
There’s no denying Rico’s good looks. But aside from his charm, Rico was adored by many because of his down-to-earth personality.
In December 1998, Rico was appointed as the youth cooperator and spokesperson on student affairs for the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (now called DepEd). He was tasked to educate the youth about the dangers of drug addiction, alcoholism, and other vices.
Rico also established Pinoy Yan Movement, a non-profit organization that aims to promote good values among the nation’s youth.
In PEP article, Rico’s mother Teresita Yan shared how the actor would talk to the youth: “To show his point, Rico would hold up a P500 bill, crumple it, and step on it. And then say: ‘Who would like this crumpled P500?’ And everybody would raise their hands.
“Ganyan din kayong mga kabataan. Ang halaga ninyo ay hindi mababawasan. Kahit na anong mangyari, ang halaga ninyo ay nandoon pa rin. Bawat isa sa inyo mahalaga at katangi-tangi.”
(This is also like you, the youth. Your value is not lessened. Whatever happens, your value remains. Each one of you is important and unique.)
Gone too soon
Rico was only 27 when he died of cardiac arrest, due to acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis.
Over 10,000 fans attended Rico’s funeral rites in Manila. It ranked no. 6 in SPOT.ph’s “List of Most Attended Funerals in Philippine History.”
When fans uploaded restored photos of the late actor in October 2020, fans couldn’t help but look back on their memories of Rico.
It’s no wonder we haven’t forgotten Rico Yan. Beyond his boyish charms, Rico had a larger-than-life personality that shone brightly beyond show business. – Rappler.com