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Remembering our Pinoy Stars Who Died Young

About The Social Scientist

is the author of the blog of the same name and of Pilipinas 360. He looks at and digs deeper to find the implications of current issues, news and actions to Filipino society.

Here in the Philippines, there’s nothing bigger than news of personalities who die young. Whether they’re big-name or beginning actors, they make headlines.  Soon, fitting tributes happen in their respective home networks. These networks make a business of showing people that this talent was indeed loved, not just by the network but by the masses. People flocked to their funerals and collected mementos and other fan memorabilia. Up to this day, some of these actors attract visitors to their niches, signifying their undying fandom.

Since Pinoy stars who died young get much attention here in our country, I’ve decided to make a little research on some of these stars, how they died and how the public reacted to their death.

JULIE VEGA (1968-1985)

Julie Pearl A. Postigo in real life

This two-time FAMAS Best Child actress was well-known for her roles in films such as Mga Mata ni Angelita and Durugin si Totoy Bato, as well as her popular role in the TV drama Anna Liza. Aside from her acting career, she is an accomplished singer too, having released an album entitle First Love. At the height of her career in 1985, the young actress started showing symptoms of a lingering disease which is suspected to be multiple sclerosis. While undergoing treatment for the disease in Quezon Institute, the actress contracted broncho-pneumonia which would complicate her condition. On May 6, 1985, the actress died of cardiac arrest as a result of her broncho-pneumonia. She was 16.

At the time of her death, Anna Liza was being shown in GMA Network which considered at the time as one of the most popular soap operas in the Philippines. Her death left the storyline of the show incomplete and she left behind an unfinished acting and singing career. Filipino,s who have followed her career and who have loved her so much, were shocked of her death they even flocked to her funeral procession going to Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City. Vega remains today as the first and one of the country’s soap opera princesses.

RICO YAN (1975-2002)

Ricardo Carlos C. Yan in real life

Rico Yan is perhaps the most famous of all the stars who died young. He died at the height of a full-blown acting and modelling career with home network ABS-CBN. He was made famous by the network for his boy next door roles in soap operas such as Mara Clara and Mula Sa Puso as well as the teen-oriented show Gimik. He also had notable appearances in films such as Ama, Ina, Anak, Home Along The Riles 2, Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay and Got 2 Believe, where he was nominated for FAMAS Best Actor award.

Yan died at the Dos Palmas Resort in Puerto Princesa Palawan on March 29, 2002. He was 27. He died in his sleep due to cardiac arrest as a result of acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis (more commonly known in the Philippines as bangungot). At the time of his death, he was in a relationship with actress Claudine Barreto, who was his love team partner in most of his movies, but most especially in Mula Sa Puso, a soap opera which had a great following among Filipinos at that time. Like Julie Vega, his death also shocked the nation and created a cult following, mostly propelled by tributes made by ABS-CBN using various media and coverage of his wake and funeral at Manila Memorial Park.

MIKO SOTTO (1982-2003)

Marcelino Antonio C. Sotto in real life

The country has hardly recovered from Rico Yan’s death a year before when reports of Miko Sotto’s death made headlines. Although not as popular as Rico Yan, Miko Sotto has made a name for himself as a bankable teen actor during his career at GMA Network. He comes from a long line of Sottos, his parents being Maru and Ali Sotto (the brother of Vic and Tito) and is a cousin of Oyo Boy Sotto (Vic’s son). He became popular in GMA Network’s teen oriented programs such as Click! and Kahit Kailan and had a relationship with Click co-star Angel Locsin at the time of his death.

Miko died before dawn on December 29, 2003 as a result of falling from the ninth floor of the condominium building where he lived in Mandaluyong City. He was 21. He was apparently sitting on the balcony of the floor talking with cousin Oyo and other friends when he slipped and fell down. GMA gave the young actor a fitting tribute and his eyes were donated by girlfriend Angel Locsin to a needy patient who needed a new set of eyes.

MARKY CIELO (1988-2008)

Mark Angelo C. Cielo in real life

Marky Cielo (or Boknoy to his family and friends) is considered as one of the Good Boys of Philippine Showbiz. Throughout his career at GMA Network, he seldom figured in showbiz scandals and was most remembered for his stunning win as Starstrucks’s First Sole Survivor and as the first known Igorot actor in the industry. Raised by his single mother in Bauko, Mountain Province, Cielo’s rise to stardom began while studying architecture at Baguio City’s St. Louis University. There he became part of the dance troupe and was immediately known for his good dancing skills. Friends in turn persuaded him to join Starstruck and the rest was history. His Starstruck landed him an exclusive contract with GMA Network, Php 1 million, a livelihood package and a house and lot in Antipolo City. He has since appeared in many of the network’s programs such as FantastiKids, Encantadia, Asian Treasure, Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan, Sine Novela: Kaputol ng Isang Awit and LaLola.

Despite his good boy reputation, his death is shrouded in mystery and controversy due to the network rivalry that ensued during his wake and funeral. Cielo died in his sleep on December 7, 2008 of what was apparently acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis (the same case as of Rico Yan). He was 20 at the time of his death. However, there was a lot of speculation on the true nature of his death, with some saying it was due to suicide or drug abuse. The speculations became even more widespread when GMA Network blasted rival ABS-CBN for airing footage of what was supposed to be a private wake for Cielo. In the end, both networks decided to respect the privacy of Cielo’s family and the speculations died down. Cielo was buried at the backyard of their Mountain Province home as customary in the Ibaloi tribe.

AJ PEREZ (1993-2011)

Antonello Joseph Perez in real life

His career hasn’t even reached its height but already fate has cut short AJ Perez’s life. Perez is one of ABS-CBN and Star Magic’s promising talents and had the similar boy-next-door appeal such as Rico Yan and Marky Cielo. He first appeared in commercials before being launched as part of Star Magic’s Batch 13. He has since graced television shows in the Kapamilya network such as Abt Ur Luv, Lobo and Agua Bendita as well as in movies such as Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo, Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo and Ang Tanging Pamilya. His last major TV appearance was as the lead male role in the afternoon soap opera Sabel opposite teen actress Jessie Mendiola.

Perez died on April 17, 2011 as a result of car accident in Moncada, Tarlac. The night before, Perez was one of the stars who graced the Bangus Festival in Dagupan City, Pangasinan together with other Kapamilya stars. He was on his way back to Manila together with his father and few others when their van got hit on the side by a speeding Partas Trans bus. Perez was sleeping on the side of the van that was directly hit by the bus and died of his injuries. He was 18.

Both Kapamilya, Kapuso and Kapatid stars where shocked of his death that it soon made headlines in major newscasts in all three networks. On the same day, ABS-CBN variety program ASAP Rocks! made a fitting tribute to the actor in remembrance of his short-lived career.



















TYRON PEREZ (1985-2011)

Jojo Perez in real life.

Tyron Perez was part of the first batch of potential artists in GMA 7’s Starstruck search in 2003. While he did not win in the search, it was enough to launch his showbiz career. He has since appeared in other GMA 7 shows like Bakekang and Lupin. After the death of his long time handler, Douglas Quijano, Perez’ career slowed down. This forced him to transfer to rival network ABS-CBN in the hopes of kick-starting his career once more. In ABS-CBN, he appeared in soap operas such as Momay, Mula sa Puso and regularly appeared in Maalaala Mo Kaya. He also appeared as the lead actor in a film about macho dancers in 2006 entitled Twilight Dancers. Perez married his long time non-showbiz girlfriend who is a flight attendant.

Perez was reported to have had problems with his wife recently. He died on December 29, 2011 in an apparent suicide inside his car in Valenzuela City. His wife, family and friends in showbiz were shocked at his early demise. His death occurred on the death anniversary of another Kapuso star, Miko Sotto (see above), and marks the second time that a Starstruck member has died on a December, the first being Marky Cielo in 2008 (see above).

Postscript: My condolences to all the fans, friends and family of Tyron Perez. May his soul have eternal repose in heaven with our Lord.



ABS-CBN NewsPhilippine Daily InquirerPhilippine Entertainment Portal, and the Internet Movie Database

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  • Vieo Lopez

    Good Riddance

  • patti jones

    yeah and also jon jon hernandez.. he died also due to car accident.

  • Miguel B. Manalaysay

    there is another actor that went by the name of tyrone perez who died of lymphoma several years ago.

    • misteryo so

      tyrone suarez yun iho hindi perez

  • Rolito Constantino Arriba Pati

    LLoyd Samartino was also young when he died……

    • Emily

      NDI PA PO PATAY. si Lloyd Samartino…ung ex-wife nya ang Jo Ramos, daughter of ex-president FVRamos..

  • rudolph

    my first crush/love the late Julie Vega!

  • Bugztronic Cellular


    I think the blogger didnt know the whole history of philippine cenema actor/ actress list, because they only portrait those died known to her mind….r

  • Jack

    hey how about RAM REVILLA??

    • Emily

      is he an actor?? or just a member of a powerful political clan?..ano ba movie nya?

      • tweetheart

        Yes !! I remember sa Agimat : Ang Mga Alamat ni Ramon Revilla : Tonyong Bayawak .. siya si Jeff Gatdula

  • Ilove you analiza

    Iloveyou analiza & rico yan

  • Filipino treasure of all time

  • jovy

    mga cute lahat cla.

  • eigriv lacson

    julie vega is a superstar, i dont want to use was because i believed her memory will forever. (ike lozada)…until today fans of julie vega visits her resting place specially may 6 her death anniv, may 21 her birthday and every all saints day. we spent the night at loyola memorial on oct.31 to nov.1 together with her story bout her life, her music and her undying movies.still looking for her movie hiwaga sa porta vaga that i havent got on my colloection of julie vega movie.i mis you julie may you find peace wherever you are…feel free to visit her official facebook fan page julie vega forever for trivias.

  • eigriv lacson

    julie vega is a superstar, i dont want to use was because i believed her memory will forever. (ike lozada)…until today fans of julie vega visits her resting place specially may 6 her death anniv, may 21 her birthday and every all saints day. we spent the night at loyola memorial on oct.31 to nov.1 together with her story bout her life, her music and her undying movies.still looking for her movie hiwaga sa porta vaga that i havent got on my colloection of julie vega movie.i mis you julie may you find peace wherever you are…

  • ‘Do not b afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.Fear him rather who can destroy both body and s0ul in Hell’.( Mt. 10,28.),
    May they rest in Peace! Amen.

  • Kweshawn

    hahaha Tyron Perez will not go to heaven…he killed himself.

  • we missed AJ PEREZ so much most particularly his acting on sabel we are requesting for his younger brother to join in shobiz industry for us to be able to remember AJ PEREZ always although this is just a wish for him we hope that you will forgive our want for you….
    this is mark james from cagayan here in cagayan valley solid fans of aj perez….

  • Anni batungbakal

    Condolences to all their fmily… May they rest in peace!

  • Nakakapanghinayang talaga pero wala naman tayong magagawa jan.

  • colored wings

    kaganda at gaguwapo ehh.. mababait yan .. 😀

  • chinky
  • jeddah_KSA

    Rico Yan is handsome & intelligent actor. His charisma is different.

  • ji

    i thought aj perez was awake during the accident? his dad claimed it. and he even said he was just saying aj was asleep.. (T.T) anyway, it’s a sad end for our favorite seminarista (T.T) mom really like him.