OPM icon Rico Puno passes away

By Jojo Panaligan and Jel Santos

Singer Rico J. Puno died of cardiac arrest early Tuesday morning, Oct. 30. He was 65.


His death was announced by his sister-in-law Anna Puno on Instagram, saying she was “seized with deep emotional shock” upon learning of Rico’s death.

Rico had just celebrated his 40th anniversary in show business. Known as Total Entertainer for his singing, acting and humor on stage, some of his biggest hits are “Macho Guwapito,” “Kapalaran,” ‘May Bukas Pa,” “Kapalaran,” and “Buhat.” The early part of his career saw some of his songs use Filipino lyrics in originally all-English songs, most famously “The Way We Were.”

Makati mayor Abby Binay praised Puno for his great contribution in the entertainment industry, saying he was the “ultimate entertainment package.”

“He not only soothed the soul with his timeless music but also lifted up the spirit with his effortless humor.”

Public servant, too

Binay said the city government and the people of Makati mourn the sudden passing Puno, a councilor of the city.

“We deeply mourn the passing of City Councilor Rico Puno. On behalf of the city government and the people of Makati, I wish to express our heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family,” Binay said.

Punoserved as councilor for the 1st District of Makati for three straight terms from 1998 to 2007. In 2016 elections, he won again.

Puno is more than an entertainer for the people of Makati for he worked as a public servant that dedicated over a decade of his life serving them, the mayor said.

“But for the people of Makati, Councilor Puno meant more than an accomplished artist and entertainer. He was a public servant who dedicated over a decade of his life looking out for the welfare of residents and promoting the city’s economic development,” she said.

The people of Makati, Binay said, will always be grateful to Puno for serving them selflessly.

Second lease on life

In 2015, Puno survived triple bypass surgery. In interviews later, he said he considers the years that followed it as his “second lease on life.”

Just recently, he was hospitalized due to complications from diabetes.

Upon announcement of his death, several Filipino celebrities expressed their condolences on social media. OgieAlcasid credited Rico for inspiring him to be a singer.

“This man was the reason I wanted to be a singer. His voice, his charm, wit and entertainment style has wowed millions of OPM fans all over the globe,” Ogie wrote in part on Facebook.

Lea Salonga wrote on Twitter: "Your distinctive voice that lent itself to so much of the music of my childhood will not be forgotten."

Martin Nievera wrote on Instagram: “We will miss you! Now that you are in heaven, behave! We love you!”