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 wee hours of Wednesday and was rushed to a hospital in Antipolo. As of press time, Smith was recovering and “conscious.”
Music promoter Dudee Alfonso confirmed the latest update on Smith’s health status adding that this stroke was not as bad as the last one. The rock star has suffered Smith three strokes since 2016.
Earlier in the day, Alfonso shared a photo of Smith inside the emergency room and asked prayers for his speedy recovery. By noon, she posted the following update: “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.”
She also denounced the fake death news of the OPM icon. “Death announcements of Pepe Smith on Facebook is not true! Fake news! Huwag naman ganyan please.”
The 69-year-old reportedly spent Tuesday night at the GMA Studios in Quezon City in preparation for his upcoming concert segment in Willie Revillame’s “Wowowin” program.
On their way home, near Smith’s house in Antipolo, he signaled his manager de Leon that he couldn’t speak. De Leon, upon seeing Smith’s face drooping—a telltale sign of stroke—immediately rushed him to the emergency room of Metro Antipolo Hospital and Medical Center.
At around 3 a.m., Smith—who turns 70 on December 25—was transferred to the hospital’s Acute Stroke Unit.
Smith was scheduled to headline his eponymous “Pepe Smith Rockfest,” a 17-hour rock festival at Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City on Saturday.
Considered as the “King of Filipino Rock n’ Roll,” Smith formed his first rock band—originally The Blue Jazzers, and renamed twice as 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 and, with his resemblance to the international rock and roll legend, was later baptized as the “Mick Jagger of the Philippines.”
His popularity soared in the ‘70s with his Juan de la Cruz band, propagating the Filipino’s own brand of rock. It was then he composed and immortalized “Balong Malalim,” “Beep Beep” and the anthemic song “Ang Himig Natin.”
Smith’s official Facebook page promised that its team would release an official statement on his condition soon.