Filipino folk icon Heber Bartolome has died at 73

The ‘Tayo'y Mga Pinoy’ singer died of causes unrelated to COVID-19

Filipino folk icon Heber Bartolome has died at the age of 73.

According to Inquirer, the OPM icon died on Monday evening (November 15), with his brother Jesse Bartolome breaking the news to the media today.

Jesse told ABS-CBN News that Heber was taken to a medical center prior to his passing. While the cause of death is unknown, Jesse revealed to radio station DzBB Super Radyo that Heber had suffered a prostate illness for over than a year. His death was also unrelated to COVID-19, Jesse said.

“He is a pillar of Pinoy rock,” Jesse said to ABS-CBN. “His works have social relevance. But he also has love songs.”

Jesse was formerly Heber’s bandmate in Banyuhay, a protest folk trio from the 1970s which was rounded up by their brother Levi. They were prominent for their use of the kubing, a traditional Philippine instrument.

Heber is best known for his work under Banyuhay and as a solo musician in the ’70s. His song ‘Tayo’y Mga Pinoy’ (translated as ‘We’re Filipinos’) has been an enduring hit since its release in 1978. The track was famously covered by the late rap icon Francis Magalona in his 1992 album ‘Rap is FrancisM’.

Heber also wrote songs such as ‘Dukha’, ‘Nena’, ‘Salome’, ‘Pasahero’, and ‘Almusal’, which dealt with the pressing social issues of the time, such as poverty, women’s rights, and national identity.

According to ABS-CBN, Heber had been performing yearly shows in Canada prior to the pandemic. See tributes to Heber Bartolome, led by rapper Gloc-9 and former Eraserheads drummer Raymund Marasigan below.

Tayo’y mga PinoyTayo’y hindi KanoHuwag kang mahihiya kung ang ilong mo ay pango! 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 #heberbartolome 🇵🇭🇵🇭🇵🇭

Posted by gloc-9 on Monday, November 15, 2021

Tulad ng sinabi ko sa aming podcast, si Heber Bartolome ang unang artist na napanood ko ng live. Grade 4 or 5 yata ako…

Posted by Jugs Jugueta on Monday, November 15, 2021

Paalam, Heber.

Posted by Lualhati Bautista on Monday, November 15, 2021

"KARANIWANG TAO" mula sa hindi Pangkaraniwang Manunulat at Musikero!!! Salamat Heber Bartolome !! Nagpupugay sa iyong Paglakbay!!! Hanggang sa susunod na entablado🙏🙏🙏👏👏👏

Posted by Lolita Carbon on Monday, November 15, 2021

Met Kuya Heber Bartolome in Gantimpala Theater more than a decade ago. He was the lead and I was a taong-bayan. We…

Posted by Valerie Tan 陈玉云 on Monday, November 15, 2021