Former Vilma leading man Junior found dead

Posted at 04/16/2014 7:57 PM | Updated as of 04/16/2014 8:26 PM
A poster for the 1979 film 'Rock, Baby, Rock' where Junior co-starred with Vilma Santos. Image from fan website Star For All Seasons

MANILA - Junior, the original singer of the OPM classic "Yakap" and a former leading man of screen veteran Vilma Santos, was found dead at his home in Madrid, the Latin Times reported on Tuesday. He was 70.

Junior died due to natural causes, the report said, and had no signs of physical abuse. Doctors said he had been dead between 12 to 14 hours before he was found and brought to the hospital.

He is survived by his three children, including singer Shaila Durcal. Junior's wife, fellow singer Rocio Durcal, died in 2006 due to cancer.

Junior, whose real name is Antonio Morales Barretto, was born in the Philippines before settling with his family in Spain when he was 15, according to a 2009 column by Ricky Lo published on the Philippine Star.

After a musical career in Spain with different bands, including electric guitar group Jump and rock band Los Brincos, Junior moved back to the Philippines where he rose to fame with the release of three Tagalog albums.

Among his hits, which later became his signature song, was "Yakap."

Junior also became a popular leading man in the 1980s, as he starred opposite Vilma Santos in "Rock, Baby, Rock" and "Good Morning Sunshine." He also appeared in the films "Bongga Ka 'Day" with Nora Aunor and "Disco Madhouse" with Lorna Tolentino.