Antonio Morales Barretto, better known as Junior, was a Filipino-born Spanish singer and actor who rose to fame in the 1960s and 1970s. He was best known for his songs ‘Yakap’, ‘But If You Leave Me’, and ‘Perdóname’, as well as his marriage to Spanish singer and actress Rocío Dúrcal. He died on April 15, 2014, at the age of 70. What was the cause of his death and what legacy did he leave behind?
Early Life and Career
Junior was born in Manila, Philippines, on September 10, 1943, to a Spanish father and a Filipina mother. He was the eldest of five brothers and had a musical talent since childhood. He moved to Spain with his family when he was 15 years old and started his career as a singer and guitarist in the group Jump, one of the pioneers of Spanish rock music. He later joined Los Brincos, a popular band that was dubbed as the ‘Spanish Beatles’. He also formed a duo with Juan Pardo, called Juan y Junior, and recorded several hits, including a Spanish version of ‘Fool on the Hill’ by The Beatles.
Junior also ventured into acting and starred in several films, both in Spain and in the Philippines. He returned to his birth country in the 1980s and made movies with Vilma Santos, such as ‘Good Morning Sunshine’ and ‘Disco Madhouse’. He also released three albums in Tagalog, one of which featured his signature song ‘Yakap’, which means ‘hug’ in English. He wrote and produced the song himself and it became a classic in Philippine music.
Marriage and Family
Junior married Rocío Dúrcal, a famous Spanish singer and actress, in 1970. They had three children: Carmen, Antonio, and Shaila, who also became singers. Junior decided to give up his career to devote time to his family, while Dúrcal continued to work and achieve success in Spain and Latin America. She was known as the ‘Queen of Ranchera Music’ and won several awards, including a Latin Grammy.
Junior and Dúrcal had a happy marriage, despite the rumors and scandals that surrounded them. They supported each other through thick and thin, especially when Dúrcal was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. She fought the disease for five years, until she died on March 25, 2006, at the age of 61. Junior was devastated by her loss and fell into a deep depression. He also had to deal with the legal disputes over her inheritance, which caused tension among his children. He eventually reconciled with them and attended Carmen’s wedding in 2011.
Death and Legacy
Junior died on April 15, 2014, in Torrelodones, Spain. He was buried next to his wife in the cemetery of Torrelodones. He was mourned by his family, friends, and fans, who remembered him as a loving husband, father, and artist. He left behind a rich musical legacy, both in Spain and in the Philippines, where his songs are still played and loved by many. He also inspired generations of singers, such as his niece Julia Barretto, a rising star in Philippine showbiz.
Junior was a man who lived a full and colorful life. He was a singer of ‘Yakap’ and ‘But If You Leave Me’, but he also gave and received a lot of love in his life. He was Antonio Morales Barretto, and this was his cause of death.