PHILIPPINE rock n’ roll icon Joseph William Feliciano Smith, better known in the local industry as Joey or Pepe Smith, suffered a stroke in the early hours of Wednesday and was rushed to a hospital in Antipolo City, a music promoter said in a post on her Facebook account.
“We are just waiting for the official medical report from Pepe’s neurologist [and]waiting for this update from Pepe’s manager, Mark de Leon and daughter, Queenie Haze Smith,” Alfonso said.
She also slammed as “fake news” reports on the death of the OPM icon. “Death announcements of Pepe Smith on Facebook are not true! Fake news! Huwag naman ganyan please.”
Reports said Smith, 69, spent Tuesday night at the GMA Studios in Quezon City in preparation for his upcoming concert segment in Willie Revillame’s “Wowowin” variety show.
As he neared his home in Antipolo City, Smith was quoted as signaling to his manager de Leon that he couldn’t speak.
De Leon rushed the singer to the Metro Antipolo Hospital and Medical Center. Reports said that before this latest attack, Smith suffered from two strokes in 2016.
Smith, who will be turning 70 on December 25, was reportedly transferred to the hospital’s Acute Stroke Unit.
Smith was scheduled to headline his eponymous “Pepe Smith Rockfest,” a 17-hour rock festival at the Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City on Saturday.
Considered as the “King of Filipino Rock n’ Roll,” Smith formed his first rock band—The Blue Jazzers, later The Villains, and eventually The Surfers—at the age of 11 in 1959.
In the ’60s, the Filipino-American rocker became a household name as a member of Downbeats, being called the “Mick Jagger of the Philippines” because of his resemblance to the international rock and roll legend.
The 1970s was the era of Smith who, together with his Juan de la Cruz band, promoted the Filipino’s own rock genre. He composed and immortalized “Balong Malalim,” “Beep Beep” and the anthemic song “Ang Himig Natin.”