MANILA, Philippines — The country mourns for Filipino musician Rico J. Puno, who passed away on Tuesday, October 30, at age 65, due to heart failure. (READ: Singer Rico J. Puno dies at 65)
“Only God can stop me from singing,” Puno once said. This was after a seven-hour triple bypass heart surgery after a complaint of chest pains in April 2015. He feared that his voice would not be the same due to the damage he believed the throat tubes caused.
Thankfully, after 3 months, the famous Rico J voice returned. He said that it may have been “God’s way” of reminding him to take care of himself. “That was when I realized just how big a role my voice plays in my life,” he said.
“It is, after all, what allows me to pursue and practice my passion; it is my source of livelihood.”
Many of the famous crooner’s fans were happy to hear their favorite musician bounce back after his adversity, as Puno is widely known as one of the most iconic pioneers of OPM (Original Pilipino Music) since the beginning of his music career in the 70’s.
His famous hits “Kapalaran,” “May Bukas Pa“, “Macho Gwapito” and “Magkasuyo Buong Gabi” have been making airwaves across generations for decades.
He was also one of the first artists who skillfully inserted Tagalog words and phrases into English songs, like he did so in his cover of “The Way We Were.”
Among his musical career milestones was being recognized by Vicor Music’s executive producers back in the 70’s after performing with American group The Temptations. He began his US tours in 1978.
He also performed at the Tokyo Music Festival in 1979 and joined the Greatest Hits series in Manila, along with the rest of the Greatest Hitmakers, such as Hajji Alejandro, Rey Valera, Marco Sison, and Nonoy Zuñiga, as they performed for fans all over the world.
Having recently celebrated his 40th year in the entertainment industry, Puno’s coined nickname of “The Total Entertainer” has held true. Not only was he well-loved for his distinctive voice and fun music, he was also known for his playful persona and cheeky humor, which helped drive his other careers in TV hosting and comedy.
In 1994-1995, he hosted Chibugan Na, a weekday noon show with Hajji Alejandro. In 2010, the hitmaker hosted noontime variety show Pilipinas Win na Win and Happy Yipee Yehey in 2011, along with John Estrada and Randy Santiago.
He is also no stranger to showbiz, appearing in local films and shows.
Puno also delved into the world of politics. In 1998, he was elected as the First District City Councilor of Makati City for three terms until 2007.
In 2010, he attempted to gun for the vice mayor post in Makati City, but was unsuccesful. In 2016, he was elected a councilor in Makati, under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party.
In December 2017, he underwent angioplasty to fix his blocked arteries. Months later, he received a pacemaker to help his heart.
Despite his health complications, Puno never abandoned his positive outlook on life.
“I also believe that God allowed me to live, because I still have a mission to entertain and bring joy to people through my music,” he said. —Rappler.com