MANILA -- Veteran talent manager Butch Dans, who helped engineer the rise of the iconic Apo Hiking Society and gave a vibrant spirit to Original Pilipino Music, passed on Thursday. He was 69.
His son Anton Dans told ABS-CBN News his father died peacefully in his sleep at 6:15 a.m. Thursday due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), surrounded by family at their home in Quezon City.
Dans, who battled COPD for over a decade, is also remembered for his “tax tobacco to the max” advocacy to remind government and the public about the danger of cigarette smoking.
The son of the late 1970s minister of transportation and communications Jose Dans and painter Araceli Dans, Butch Dans was originally a member of the Ateneo de Manila University-based Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society band which later evolved to the APO trio of Danny Javier, Jim Paredes and Buboy Garrovillo. Dans later became the manager of APO and other show bands and personalities.
Aside from his stint as a recording executive, Dans, at several points, also managed the careers of Leah Navarro, Noel Cabangon, Baihana, Lyn Sherman, Bituin Escalante, and Fourplay, among others. He is credited with championing OPM throughout the last four decades.
Designer Eric Pineda, a family friend, recalled how Dans trusted him with the wardrobe of the APO in their several milestone shows including “Dalawampu NAPO Sila”, “APO Silver Away” and other concerts.
“I will miss our long conversations, a really cool and intelligent guy," said Pineda who also took charge of the Dans’ bridal wear at their silver wedding anniversary, as well as the weddings of their three children.
The outpouring of sympathies also include Paredes. “Butch Dans, my dear brother. I love you. Till we meet again. Though it was expected, I am shattered," he said on Facebook. “I am so far away. My heart is crying. I want to hug all my friends....It has been so long.”
Cabangon also fondly recalled Dans’ diligent way of handling his career, even jokingly suggesting a scenario where he could be the new “APO” member with the retirement of Danny Javier. Cabangon began his collaboration with APO and Dans in 1999 when APO sang his MetroPop Song Festival composition “Dito Sa Kanto.” Dans was a friend and barkada, first and foremost, he said.
The Dans family is still finalizing details of his cremation, funeral and online memorial.
“We are getting an overwhelming amount of love from people who worked with my dad everywhere, “ Anton said. “We are grateful. My dad would want everyone to cherish his memories and not to mourn him too much.”