Wally Gonzalez of Juan de la Cruz Band passes away
Wally Gonzalez, the guitarist of hit OPM rock band Juan de la Cruz, passed away in his sleep today, July 23. He was 71 years old.
The musician’s death was confirmed by his son John Gonzalez through a Facebook post also today. He did not disclose the cause of his father’s death, but said there will be a short wake for Wally.
It will be remembered, however, that the music icon was diagnosed with COVID-19 and suffered from a stroke earlier this year, which left him “extremely weak and unable to move on his own power.” At the time, John set up an online fundraiser to help with his father’s treatment.
In his FB post, John said, “My father Wally Gonzalez [passed] away peacefully in his sleep earlier this morning. To his friends in the music industry and off, we are arranging for a short wake so that you can visit him post-cremation, as was his last wishes.”
He also assured that he will be providing further details about Wally’s death “soon” after his cremation.
My father Wally Gonzalez Full passed away peacefully in his sleep earlier this morning. To his friends in the music…
Posted by John Gonzalez on Thursday, July 22, 2021
Members of the Filipino music community mourned Wally’s death, including Color It Red’s Cooky Chua, Pedicab’s Raymund Marasigan and APO Hiking Society’s Jim Paredes.
Chua remembered jamming with Wally on several occasions as she showed a photo with the guitarist on her Facebook page also today.
“Kilig na kilig ako noon tuwing manunuod ka ng set ng Color It Red. Nung tumawag ka para pakantahin ako sa blues band mo, napakasaya ko. Ang daming times naka-jam kita,” she recalled. “Mahal kita, [Wally] Gonzalez. Paalam.”
(I felt very giddy whenever you would watch a set of Color It Red. When you called me to sing with your blues band, I was so happy. I have jammed with you for so many times. I love you, Wally Gonzales. Goodbye.)
For his part, Marasigan recounted how Wally had taught him “listening, feeling and improvisation,” through a Twitter post on the same day.
“Wally. My stint playing drums for a month with you was a complete course on listening, feeling and improvisation. Paalam senor (Goodbye, señor),” he said.
my stint playing drums for a month with you was a complete course on listening, feeling and improvisation.
— Raymund Marasigan (@raymsmercygun) July 23, 2021
Paredes, meanwhile, admitted that the news of Wally’s death was “so sad” for him to hear, as shown on his Twitter page today.
“So sad to hear this. Just read on [Facebook] that Wally [Gonzalez] of Juan dela Cruz band just passed on today. Rest In Peace!” he said.
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
Known as “the quiet Juan,” Wally founded the Juan de la Cruz Band with late vocalist Pepe Smith and bassist-composer Mike Hanopol. They released hits under the contemporary Filipino rock genre including “Project,” “Divisoria,” “Sarap ng Buhay” and “Himig Natin,” among others. /ra
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