Nagbigay-pugay ang Kapuso actress-singer na si Rita Daniela sa yumaong music icon na si Rico J. Puno.
Itinuturing na mentor ni Rita si Rico na humubog sa kanyang talento mula pa noong bata pa siya.
Sa kanyang Instagram post kahapon, November 12, ibinahagi ni Rita kung gaano kahalaga sa kanya ang kanyang "Tito Rico."
Ang ina ni Rita ay longtime personal secretary ni Rico.
Panimula ng My Special Tatay actress, “You are my inspiration since Day1 until now. The coolest mentor ever and a father to many.
“Yes, you have been such a great provider.
“You taught me what a performer should be like.
“How talent, passion and heart becomes one.”
Kasunod nito, ibinahagi ni Rita ang mga tulong na ginawa ni Rico noong nagsisimula pa lamang siya.
Si Rita ay nagsimula sa singing search ng QTV 11 na Popstar Kids kung saan siya ang itinanghal na grand champion noong 2006.
Lahad pa niya, “When GMA asked me what should I be called, I really don’t know what to say because I’m just a newbie then.
"Who am I to be called for something important for I know it’ll be my responsibility forever as an artist.
"I was just 10 years old then. My parents and I asked for suggestions and he said, 'The Total Performer.'
"I asked him why he gave me that. I mean that’s him, no one can surpass that.
"He looked straight into my eyes and said, 'Hindi, kaya mo yan. Kayang kaya mo yan. Magaling ka.'
"From that moment on, he guided me to be always better and better.
"He always believed in me even I, didn’t believe in myself.
"He knew my capability as an artist. He made me sing almost every night in his restobar (Corik’s) and he’s always proud to introduce me to his friends.
"I am more than blessed not just to perform with you in one stage, but to be a part of your life.
"You’re together again with Papa. Up there.
"You are my inspiration and forever will be.
"Who I am now as an artist/performer, this is all YOU."
Dagdag pa ni Rita, "I love you, Tito Rico. We will miss you."
Pumanaw si Rico J. Puno noong October 30, 2018, sa edad na 65.