Rio Diaz, 45 Yrs Old
Rio Diaz-Cojuangco (born Rosario Diaz, August 14, 1959-October 4, 2004) was a former beauty queen, TV Host and actress born in the Philippines. She was the sister of former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz. Rio was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in December 1998. She was given three months to live then, but she lived for six more years. She died on October 4, 2004 in Seton Hospital in Daly City, California at the age of only 45.
Rio was the youngest of 12 children born to Jaime Diaz and Teresa Aspillera. She was the sister of Gloria Diaz, Miss Universe 1969. A ramp and commercial model, Rio herself was crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas in 1977 and won fourth runner-up in the Miss Asia pageant that same year. When she and singer Hajji Alejandro became a couple, they left for Los Angeles, California where they operated a small restaurant along Melrose Ave. When things went sour between them, Rio came back to the Philippines and joined showbiz once more. She co-hosted Eat Bulaga in 1991 and stayed for a couple of years before she met Charlie Cojuangco on a blind date in 1993 and got married the following year. She was elected vice mayor of Pontevedra in the May 1998 elections, when Charlie first won a seat in Congress. She became president of the vice mayors’ league in Negros Occidental. During a routine checkup in December 1998, her doctors in the United States informed her of a small growth in her left abdomen. After a six-hour surgery, they found a malignant tumor in its fourth stage. She underwent another operation, and then chemotherapy for three months. In 1999 her oncologist, Dr. George Fisher at Stanford, declared she had been cured. When the cancer cells made a comeback in May 2000, Rio returned to Stanford for another eight-hour surgery, and another round of chemotherapy sessions. In 2002, she stopped the sessions because her body could no longer take it. But late that year, Rio’s doctors said she had no recourse but to do it again.