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Gone too soon: The heartbreaking deaths that rocked 2021

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Dec 31, 2021 9:30 pm

With 2021 coming to a close, we take a look back at some of the personalities and trailblazers to who we had to say goodbye this year. 

Here's a look at the lives of the monumental Filipinos we lost this 2021.

Claire Dela Fuente (Dec. 28, 1958 - March 30, 2021)

The once-dubbed  “Karen Carpenter of the Philippines” died due to cardiac arrest on March 30 at 63. Claire’s death was confirmed by her son Gigo, who told ABS-CBN News that the singer was earlier hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.

Claire shot to fame during the ’70s and recorded several albums and singles, including now-iconic songs such as Nakaw na Pag-ibig, Minsan, Minsan, and Sayang.

Ricky Lo (April 21, 1946 - May 4, 2021)

Veteran entertainment journalist Ricky Lo shocked the industry when he passed away on May 4 due to a stroke. Lo served as an Associate Editor and Entertainment Editor for The Philippine STAR for 35 years and has been a journalist for at least 50 years.

Apart from being a celebrated media practitioner, Lo is also the author of books Star-Studded and Conversations with Ricky Lo. He was 75.

Arturo Luz (Nov. 26, 1926 - May 26, 2021)

The Philippines mourned the passing of another national artist with the death of Arturo Luz on May 26 at the age of 94.

The painter, sculptor, and visual artist has been considered as one of Asia's most influential modern artists. He was also a founding director of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and served the museum from 1976 to 1986. 

"He enriched our lives with his art, with his incredible talent and his genius. As a father and a grandfather, he was simply the best. He was the most kind and generous human being," his daughter shared on social media after her father's passing.

Carmelito Reyes, also known as Shalala (Jan. 20, 1960 - June 23, 2021)

The radio personality and comedian passed away on June 23 after struggling with pulmonary tuberculosis. He was 61.

The artist rose to fame when he co-hosted the late-night show Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman along with fellow comedian host, German Moreno. He also appeared in several television shows including Startalk, CelebriTV, and Good Morning Club, among others.

Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III (Feb. 8, 1960 - June 24, 2021)

On June 24, the Philippines' 15th president passed away in his sleep due to renal disease secondary to diabetes. The 61-year-old who served the country from 2010 to 2016 sent shockwaves to the country, prompting followers and political foes to send their regards to the Aquino family.

"It is with profound grief that on behalf of our family, I am confirming that our brother Benigno ‘Noynoy’ S. Aquino III died peacefully in his sleep," said the family statement, read by his sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada.

"No words can express how broken our hearts are and how long it will take for us to accept the reality that he is gone," she continued. "Mission accomplished ka, Noy. Be happy now with dad and mom. We love you and we are so blessed to have had you as our brother. We will miss you forever, Noy."

Noemi Tesorero, also known as Mahal (Dec. 29, 1974 - Aug. 31, 2021)

The comedienne famously known as Mahal passed away on August 31 after testing positive for COVID-19. The news was shared by her sister Irene Tesorero through a Facebook post.

“Ang aming kapatid na si Mahal ay pumanaw na. Wala pa schedule sa kanyang burol due to COVID restriction,” Irene shared. Mahal, said Irene, also had comorbidities like high blood pressure

Raymund Isaac (June 28, 1962 - Sept. 4, 2021)

The veteran celebrity photographer passed away in San Francisco California after being hospitalized for COVID-19 at 59-year-old.

Raymund's groundbreaking career spanned numerous decades wherein he had the opportunity to shoot some of showbiz’s biggest stars, including Lea Salonga, Sharon Cuneta, Piolo Pascual, and more. 

Janet Bordon (September 16, 1955 - Sept. 22, 2021)

After her 30-year-long fight with cancer, the Filipina actress Janet Bordon passed away on Sept. 24 at the age of 66.

Bordon rose to fame in the 1970s and 1980s with films such as Ako Si Emma, Babae!, Tatak ng Yazuka, Biyak na Manyika, and Virgin People, among others. She relocated to California with her family shortly after.

Bienvenido Lumbera (April 11, 1932 - Sept. 28, 2021)

National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, affectionately called "Ka Bien" by his friends and peers, passed away on Sept. 28 at the age of 89 as confirmed by his family.

Lumbera was a recipient of a number of prestigious creative awards such as the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communications, and the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature. As for his scholarly works, Bien's name is most notably present in Tagalog Poetry, 1570-1898: Tradition and Influences in its Development; Philippine Literature: A History and Anthology, Revaluation: Essays on Philippine Literature, and Writing the Nation/Pag-akda ng Bansa.