A Filipino rockstar and guitarist, Wally Gonzalez recently passed away at age 71, leaving millions of fans worldwide in an embittered state.
Gonzalez was a talented and recognized entertainer, guitarist, and founder of the Filipino band known as “Juan De La Cruz.” This amazing band and its members brought rock to the world like it had never been done before, giving birth to the name ‘Pinoy rock,’ which is a kind of rock music produced only in the Philippines.
The news of the band’s founding father’s death has shocked many people, and paved the way for a sad yet nostalgic experience. The Pinoy rock became one of the most popular types of rock music in and outside the Philippines, and though Gonzalez is no more, his legacy will live on forever.
The professional guitarist, also regarded as a bluesman, was said to have passed away in the early hours of Friday., July 23, and this confirmation came from his son, John Gonzalez, through a Facebook post.
John explained in the post that his father’s last moments were peaceful, and that the family has decided to organize a wake for his friends and colleagues who would like to attend.
The post attracted well wishers and fans, who gave their condolences for the painful loss. Although John did not go into details about the cause of his father’s death, social media fans had a few speculations.
So sad to hear this. Just read on FB that Wally Gonzales of Juan dela Cruz band just passed on today. Rest In Peace!
— Jim (@Jimparedes) July 23, 2021
The other members of the band, are yet to comment on the founder’s demise, as they might still be in great shock over the sad news.
my stint playing drums for a month with you was a complete course on listening, feeling and improvisation.
— Rayray Marasigan (@raymsmercygun) July 23, 2021
However, some of his colleagues in the Filipino music community including, Jim Paredes, Cooky Chua, and Raymund Marasigan reacted sadly to the news.
Wally Gonzalez’s Health Struggles
Some of the speculations that fans have about Gonzalez’s death, came from the fact that at the beginning of the year, the 71-year-old had a long battle with his health. Although there was no premium update on his health, it was revealed that he suffered some devastating health problems.
In January 2021, reports confirmed that Gonzalez had been diagnosed with COVID-19, which led to stroke. The report also said that these health issues left the band boy in an “extremely weak” state, and unable to move freely the way he used to.
John then took to his Facebook page, to start a fundraiser, to help cater for his father’s declining health. It no doubt came as a shock to everyone because five months later, Gonzalez passed away.
About Wally Gonzalez’s Life & Legacy
Gonzalez was born in the Philippines, he is a guitarist and vocalist who founded the Filipino band group called “Juan De La Cruz.”
He came into the limelight in the late 70s, and took his band to great lengths including becoming the 1st OPM Rock band.
During his career, Gonzalez was known as a quiet band member because he never led an extravagant and flashy lifestyle. Rather, he kept a quiet profile, and enjoyed his life as a guitarist. Even in his late years, many who were close with him, knew him as a hard-working man, who did not care for material things, but was all about his music.
Juan De La Cruz
This band was kicked off by Wally Gonzalez, Pepe Smith, the drummer, and Mike Hanopol, the bass player. The trio began something beautiful, and unknown to them, it would later become one of the best and most popular rock group in the Philippines.
The group released its first album in 1971, which was recorded as a quintet. This album was used by the Manila Symphony Orchestra during a rock opera, and this inflated the group’s popularity.
The band has a record of more than a dozen members, who stayed for a while and left. After the band discarded, they reconnected again in 2017 after winning the ASAP Pinoy Band’s Special Lifetime Achievement Award. Smith, who was one of the initial members of the group sadly passed away at age 71, on January 28, 2019.