Claim to Fame: Filipino musician
DOB: August 6, 1964
Diabetes Type: 1
Dubbed “Mr. Pure Energy,” Gary Valenciano is a Filipino musician and actor known for his over-the-top, enthusiastic performances. Valenciano has made 26 albums over the course of his career and has won the Awit Award, Philippines equivalent to Grammy Awards, for “Best Male Performer” 11 times. In addition to his music career and acting work, Valenciano is also the ambassador of UNICEF Philippines and has held the title since 1998.
Born Edgardo Jose Martin Santiago Valenciano in Santa Mesa, Manila, he is one of seven children. Valenciano grew up surrounded by music, his mother having been an opera singer in Manila throughout the 60’s. At an early age, Valenciano showed a talent for performing and at age 14 appeared in a soft-drink commercial. He began his career as a choir singer, but in 1982 launched a solo career when he appeared on The Pilita and Jackie Show. Despite a positive reception, it wasn’t until he appeared on the more popular Germspesyal and Penthouse Live that the young entertainer achieved popularity. In 1984, Valenciano held a solo concert that was such a success and attracted such a significant fan response that he quickly received offers from a number of prominent record companies, resulting in the production of more than 20 albums, many of which were distributed internationally.
Valenciano is a person living with type 1 diabetes and, though he has had difficulties as a result of his illness, he has been successful nonetheless. Diagnosed at 14, he struggled with hypoglycemia and often experienced complications due to low blood sugars. In 2005, while on tour, Valenciano suffered a low blood sugar that resulted in unconsciousness. Had the star not been discovered, his situation would have resulted in a coma. However, with his family and faith on his side, Valenciano has overcome the obstacles placed in his life by his illness and works to promote awareness of diabetes and the dangers that are associated with the disease. Along with his wife, the musician has appeared as a spokesperson for GluControl, an herbal diabetes supplement meant to manage blood sugar. He has also spoken publicly about his diabetes struggles on the ABS-CBN television show, “I Survived.”
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