Anna Puno, whom reports identified as Puno’s sister-in-law, confirmed the news on Instagram.
“I am seized with deep emotional shock when I found out that our OPM King – Kuya Rico J. Puno, has passed away this morning (Manila time),” Anna wrote. (LOOK BACK: Rico J’s greatest hits)
She added: “Numbed with grief, I would like to call on all entertainers in the OPM industry as well as his worldwide fans to stop for a moment and say a prayer to one of the most respected singers in the country.”
Condolences poured in on Tuesday morning.
Lea Salonga wrote: “Rest In Peace, Rico J. Puno. Your distinctive voice that lent itself to so much of the music of my childhood will not be forgotten.”
Zsa Zsa Padilla said: “RIP Rico Puno. Shocked to hear about your sudden passing. We will always remember your beautiful songs and your unique way of interpreting them.”
Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera also posted on Instagram: