Composer, musical arranger and pianist Willy Cruz died early Monday at St. Luke’s Hospital where he had been comatose for a week following a stroke. He was 70 years old.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, his sister Magdalena “Bong” Africa asked the public to remember the prolific songwriter for his “love for music and how he glorified God through his songs.”
Some of the classic pieces Cruz penned, and since immortalized in the annals of OPM (Original Pilipino Music) include “Araw-araw, Gabi-gabi” by Didith Reyes; “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas,” “Bituing Walang Ningning,” “Pangarap Na Bituin,” and “Init Sa Magdamag” all by Sharon Cuneta; the favorites “Never Ever Say Goodbye,” “Doon Lang” and “Magandang Gabi” by Nonoy Zuñiga; “Let The Pain Remain” by Basil Valdez; and “May Minamahal” by Hajji Alejandro.
Cruz also worked with Zsa Zsa Padilla, Pilita Corrales and Nora Aunor. He produced several soundtracks for Viva Films as well, particularly those starring the Megastar.
Several artists took to social media Monday morning to express sympathy to the composer’s bereaved family and admiration for the man who churned many Filipino classics.
Nonoy Gallardo, husband of Celeste Legaspi, whom Cruz worked with during the Ambivalent Crowd days, broke the news on Facebook saying, “Our dear friend Willy Cruz is now in eternal peace. Please say a prayer for him.”
Lea Salonga posted on Twitter, “Rest in God’s loving arms, Willy Cruz. You have left such a legacy of amazing music to remember you by.”
Ogie Alcasid, also on Twitter, condoled, “RIP Mr. Willy Cruz. Thank you for the wonderful music that you have created for the Filipinos.”
As of press time, there are still no details on Cruz’ wake and interment, pending the arrival of family members and close relatives from abroad.