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2023 Wrapped: Remembering the departed stars and notable figures

By Shainah Mae Limpiado Published Dec 27, 2023 7:20 pm Updated Dec 27, 2023 7:45 pm

As 2023 ends, we reflect on the year that passed, including the departure of numerous influential personalities whom we lost this year.  

Musicians including Tina Turner, Astro's Moonbin, and Tony Bennett were among those who passed away this year, together with actors Angus Cloud, Matthew Perry, and just recently, Lee Sun Kyun.

From beloved actors who touched the hearts of many to influential figures in media, their legacies will forever resonate in our memories.

Lualhati Bautista (December 2, 1945 – February 12, 2023)

Lualhati Torres Bautista died due to cancer in her home on February 12 at the age of 77. Bautista's death was confirmed by one of her grandchildren, Xyril Salazar on Instagram, saying the award-winning writer, novelist, and activist passed “peacefully” at 6 in the morning.  

Bautista made an impact on her literary works and screenplays including Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa, Dekada 70, and Bulaklak ng City Jail.

In 2020, she was among the awardees of the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining for her outstanding achievements and contributions to Philippine arts and culture.  

Though best known for her prolific output in the industry, she was known for writing stories under the dictatorship of the Marcos regime and leaving her advocacy to fight for women’s rights. 

Andrei Sison (October 9, 2005 - March 24, 2023)

Teen artist Miguel Andrei Sison died in a car accident on March 24.

Sison was a talent of Sparkle GMA Artists Center and was known for his livestreams, and dance covers on TikTok. 

The 17-year-old actor gained recognition for his performance in supporting roles in Filipino TV shows and films including The Dead Kids.  

Moonbin (January 26, 1998 – April 19, 2023)

South Korean singer and member of K-pop boy group Astro, Moonbin, shocked his fans after the Gangnam District of Seoul announced his passing on April 19.

Moonbin, 25, first debuted as a child model and his appearance was in 2006 in the TVXQ’s music video for their song Balloons. Back in 2009, his first acting role career boomed in the hit K-drama romantic comedy series Boys Over Flower” as he played the younger version of Kim Bum’s character.  

The Astro member's singing career debuted on their extended play Spring Up, including the hit single Hide and Seek.

Tina Turner (November 26, 1939 – May 24, 2023) 

Iconic singer Tina Turner died in her home due to a lingering illness, as announced by her publicist Bernard Doherty on May 24. She was 84.

Turner became one of the best solo artists and defining pop icons of the 1980s, making herself a music legend and a role model. She amplified Black women’s formative stake in rock’n’roll taking inspiration from her high-kicking, energetic live performances on stage. 

She held a Guinness World Record for the largest paying audience (180,000 in 1988) as a solo performer and won 12 Grammy Awards. In 1986, the “Queen of Rock'n'roll” received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and St. Louis Walk of Fame (1991).  

John Regala (September 12, 1967 – June 3, 2023)

Best known for his kontrabida roles, John Regala, also known as John Paul Guido Boucher Scherrer in real life, died of cardiac arrest due to liver and kidney complications on June 3. Regala’s niece confirmed his death on social media post. 

The 55-year-old actor made his first appearance in the industry on That’s Entertainment in the 1980s. After a decade, he became known for his antagonist roles in action movies. Regala won Best Supporting Actor in the Metro Manila Filmfest movie Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story.

Regala's last project was in the ABS-CBN TV series FPJ’s Ang Probinsiyano, where he played Congressman Randolf Subito from 2015-2022.

Mario Dumaual (July 31, 1958 – July 5, 2023)

Veteran entertainment journalist and writer Mario Dumaual died on July 5 due to septic shock as confirmed by his family in an official statement. He had been battling a severe fungal infection caused by a complication from his recovery from a heart attack and was confined for a month at the Philippine Heart Center.  

Dumaual was best known as a TV showbiz reporter for ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs for almost 35 years, where he was offered by Angelique Lazo while working as a columnist for the newspaper Malaya.  

Dumaual was recognized with the Joe Quirino Memorial Award at the 5th Entertainment Editors’ Choice Awards and was formally honored to be one of the Eastwood City Walk of Fame stars for news and public affairs.   

Tony Bennett (July 21, 2023)

Crooner Tony Bennett passed away on July 21 at the age of 96.

Bennett toured the United States and Europe into his final decade, playing his last public performance before the coronavirus pandemic halted touring in New Jersey on March 11, 2020.

Soon after, he revealed he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016. He had kept his condition quiet for years.

Bennett played two more birthday concerts, but canceled the remainder of his 2021 tour dates on "doctors' orders."

Angus Cloud (July 10,1998 — July 31, 2023)

Angus Cloud, who rose into prominence for his role Fezco “Fez” O’Neill on HBO’s Euphoria, died on July 31. He was 25.

He died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs, a coroner has confirmed.

Mike Enriquez (September 29, 1951 – August 29, 2023)

Veteran broadcast journalist Miguel Castro Enriquez, also known as Mike Enriquez, passed away on Aug. 29 after battling prolonged complications.

He was recognized as one of the pillars of GMA Integrated News as an award-winning broadcaster with his expertise in radio and television for almost three decades of being a Kapuso. From Saksi to Imbestigador, he also served as an officer and radio anchor of the Super Radyo DZBB. 

The Mr. Sumbungan ng Bayan received recognition for proudly presenting the country including the Best Newscaster Award at the ‘Asian Television Awards,’ ‘Silver Camera Award’ (2004) at the US Film and Video Festival in Los Angeles for the documentary “Iraq: In the Navel of War.”  

Matthew Perry (August 19, 1969 – October 28, 2023)

Matthew Perry, who was best known for his character Chandler Bing in Friends, was found lifeless in his hot tub at his Los Angeles home on Oct. 28.

On Dec. 15 after a thorough investigation, authorities revealed Perry died of “acute effects of ketamine,” a powerful anesthetic used as an alternative therapy to treat depression.

The beloved television sitcom Friends actor gained many fans and an Emmy for his portrayal in the show. Perry received nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award as he pinned for an outstanding leading actor in his generation in films Fools Rush (1997), Almost Heroes (1998), Three to Tango (1999), and 17 Again (2009). 

His last appearance was the American TV sitcom Friends: The Reunion (2021), alongside co-actors Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer

Ronaldo Valdez (November 27, 1947 – December 17, 2023) 

Prominent Filipino actor Ronaldo Valdez, Ronald James Dulaca Gibbs in real life, passed away on Dec. 17 at the age of 76.

QCPD's chief of Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit Maj. Don Don Llapitan told 24 Oras that Valdez was found in his room, unresponsive in his chair with a gunshot wound in his right temple and a gun in his hand.

The film and television star was rushed to the hospital for immediate treatment but was declared dead on arrival.

Everyone who was with Valdez at home had to undergo paraffin and ballistic tests as part of the standard operating procedure of the investigation into his sudden passing.

Valdez was discovered in the 1960s and later started to portray father and grandfather figures. His last role was in the romantic series 2 Good 2 Be True, alongside former real-life couple Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.  

He won various nominations and major awards including Best Supporting Actor awards in the Film Academy of the Philippines Awards, FAMAS Awards, Gawad Urian, and the Star Awards.

Lee Sun Kyun (March 2, 1975 — December 27, 2023)

South Korean actor Lee Sun Kyun, best known for his role in the Oscar-winning film Parasite and K-drama Coffee Prince, was discovered dead in an apparent suicide in a Seoul park.

Lee was previously accused of using drugs and was probed by police three times. 

Yonhap reported that Lee said a bar hostess tricked him into using drugs and was trying to blackmail him. He tested negative in the drug tests conducted by police.

Lee is survived by actress Jeon Hye-jin and their two children.