Jo Ramos’s death shocks Lloyd Samartino
Actor Lloyd Samartino said he was “shocked” and “caught off guard” by news of the death of his estranged wife, musician Jo Ramos, who succumbed to lung cancer on Monday.
“Neither I nor her family knew how advanced the cancer was until last week,” Samartino told Inquirer Monday afternoon in a phone interview.
“We all knew she was being treated, and thought she was getting better. I guess she meant to finish the battle on her own, and wanted us to stop worrying,” he added.
Identified as Josephine Martinez Ramos in a statement issued by her father through a spokesperson, she died of cancer complications at The Medical City in Ortigas, Pasig City, at 1 a.m.
The family has informed relatives abroad, Samartino said. “We want everyone to be able to say their good-byes.”
Samartino and Ramos separated in 2004. They have a 17-year-old son, Sergio, who, like his parents, is interested in the performing arts.
“Sergio and I have not talked about the immediate future,” Samartino said. “After the interment, we will sit down and discuss it.”
The second of five daughters of ex-President Ramos and his wife, Amelita, Jo was a back-up singer for Gary Valenciano and also singer/drummer for Powerplay Band in the late 1980s.
Prior to that, she played the Yamaha organ at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in concert with fellow young artists Maritess Salientes, Louie Ocampo and Rowena Arrieta.
Jo trained as a teenager under renowned piano professor Carmencita Guanzon-Arambulo, who founded the Greenhills Music Studio in Mandaluyong City. She attended the International School of Manila as a scholar, and the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. She attended various dance and music workshops in the United States.
Jo used to say she inherited her love of music, the arts and sports from her mother. And although she enjoyed the limelight as a performer, there were aspects of her life not known to many.
“Jo was a wonderful mother to our son,” Samartino said, adding that his wife’s artistic inclinations were not limited to music.
“Only a few people know she was good with her hands—sewing, even making furniture,” he said.
She didn’t take sports lightly, either. Her father said in television interviews Monday night that Jo was “not only caring and caring, she was also daring.”
She was a member of the national ladies’ water-skiing team that brought home honors for the country from the Southeast Asian Games in the 1970s. With a report from Cynthia D. Balana
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