Filipino singer-songwriter Claire dela Fuente has died. She was 63 years old.
The news was confirmed this morning (March 30) by her son, Gigo, who said the OPM (Original Pinoy Music) artist had died in her sleep from a cardiac arrest. Per an ABS-CBN report, Gigo also revealed that she had tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and was in the hospital at the time of her passing.
“She died from cardiac arrest, believed to be a result of her stress and anxiety. My mom has anxiety, hypertension and diabetes and her tendency to worry, to stress a lot, led her to weaken and in her sleep her heart gave up,” Gigo told ABS-CBN.
He revealed that dela Fuente had started to display symptoms of COVID-19 last Thursday, and tested positive on Friday.
Per ABS-CBN, Gigo also confirmed that there will not be a physical wake for dela Fuente, although he is planning for a virtual wake “for her friends, for her relatives, for my friends who are deeply affected by this”.
Claire dela Fuente rose to fame in the 1970s when she won the grand prize for a singing competition at the age of 15. She followed up her win with the release of her jukebox hit single ‘Sayang’. In 1977, she released her debut album of the same title, which then became the best-selling album in the country at the time.
Over the course of her career in music, dela Fuente released several albums, culminating in a number of reported multi-platinum records, and a gold record.
dela Fuente had been dubbed as the “Karen Carpenter of the Philippines”, and “Asia’s sweetest voice”. She was also a successful businesswoman, serving as the president of the Integrated Metropolitan Bus Operators Association (IMBOA) until 2011.
Following the news of dela Fuente’s passing, several musicians have taken to social media to share tributes for the late OPM icon. Composer Jonathan Manalo, who was reportedly close to dela Fuente, posted the news on his Facebook page earlier this morning.
Other tributes include musicians from within the OPM scene, such as Sitti Navarro, Leah Navarro and Richard Poon. Check out their tributes below.
Heard Claire dela Fuente died this morning. Condolences to her family. We performed together many times, she was proud to be called a Jukebox Queen. Rest In Peace, Claire.
— Leah Navarro (@leahnavarro) March 30, 2021
Gigo dela Fuente, real name Gregorio Angelo Rafael de Guzman, was linked to the alleged rape and murder of flight attendant Christine Dacera earlier this year. Gigo denied his involvement, and his mother Claire also defended him against the allegations at the time.