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 twenty-six albums over the course of his career, and has won the Awit Award, the Philippines’ equivalent to the Grammy Award, for Best Male Performer eleven times. In addition to his music and acting work, Valenciano is also the ambassador of UNICEF Philippines, having held the title since 1998.
Born Edgardo Jose Martin Santiago Valenciano in Santa Mesa, Manila, Valenciano is one of seven children. He grew up surrounded by music, his mother having been an opera singer in Manila throughout the 1960s. At an early age, Valenciano showed a talent for performing, and, at age fourteen, appeared in a soft-drink commercial. He began his career as a choir singer, but in 1982, he launched a solo career after appearing 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 gave a solo concert that was such a success, and attracted such significant fan response, that he quickly received offers from a number of prominent record companies, resulting in the production of more than twenty albums, many of which were distributed internationally.
Valenciano lives with type 1 diabetes, and though he has had difficulties as a result of his illness, he has been successful nonetheless. Diagnosed at age fourteen, he struggles with hypoglycemia, and often experiences complications due to low blood sugar. In 2005, while on tour, Valenciano suffered low blood sugar that resulted in unconsciousness. Had the star not been discovered, his situation would have resulted in a coma.
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 associated with the disease. Along with his wife, the musician has appeared as a spokesperson for GluControl, an herbal diabetes supplement formulated to manage blood sugar. He has also spoken publicly about his diabetes struggles on the ABS-CBN television show I Survived.