|Image Credit: ABS-CBNNews.com|
Yan's career was at its peak when cut short by his death from acute pancreatitis on Good Friday of 2002 at the young age of 27. Close to 10,000 people attended Yan's funeral attesting to the extent of how much fans adored him. Who knows? If not for this tragedy, he might be still thriving in the entertainment industry. His first three movies, all released by Star Cinema in 1996, are remembered here.
Rico Yan was introduced in the Radio Romance, Star Cinema's Valentine offering for 1996. At that time "Radio Romance" was also the branding of DWRR-FM, the Manila radio station of ABS-CBN. The movie was directed by Jose Javier Reyes while the theme song was performed by Jose Mari Chan. Other members of the cast include Sharmaine Arnaiz, John Estrada, Robin Da Roza, Paolo Abrera and Gelli De Belen.
Incidentally, Radio Romance was also the first movie that featured the love team that pairs him with Claudine Barretto. (Yan's last movie, Got 2 Believe, was also the final movie of his screen tandem with Barretto.)
Fifteen days later, on February 29, the second movie that features Yan opened in theaters. Ama, Ina, Anak (Tagalog: "Father, Mother, Child"). This drama movie was topbilled by Maricel Soriano and Edu Manzano, under the direction of Jose Javier Reyes. Yan plays a supporting role opposite Jolina Magdangal. Other cast members of Ama, Ina, Anak include Boots Anson Roa, Jackie Lou Blanco, Cherry Pie Picache, Teresa Loyzaga and Angelica Panganiban.
Yan and Barretto supported Sharon Cuneta in Madrasta (Tagalog: "Stepmother") which opened in theaters on August 14 that year. Madrasta was Cuneta's first movie outside Viva Films, her home studio. It was directed by Olivia M. Lamasan. Aside from Yan and Barretto, the cast also includes Camille Prats, Patrick Garcia, Nida Blanca, Christopher De Leon and Zsa Zsa Padilla.