AceShowbiz - Yeray Albelda is pushing through a horrific accident in honor of his co-stars, Raymundo Garduno Cruz and Juan Francisco Gonzalez Aguilar. Less than a week after surviving the tragic crash in Mexico, "The Chosen One" actor attended a memorial service for his late co-stars and spoke for the first time about the close friends he lost.
Talking about Cruz and Aguilar, the latter of whom was also was known professionally as Paco Mufote, Albelda told Deadline, "Both are longtime friends from the theater with who I've been through a lot--both good times and bad." He added, "We've been on tour together and we all know one another's families."
Albelda then reflected on the memories of his departed friends. "I've known Paco for about 18 years and Ray for around seven years. Ray was the rebellious one. I never posted photos on set because we signed NDAs that prevent spoilers from getting out," he said.
The actor further remembered, "But Ray, as the rebel, loved being on set and he posted a few photos anyway. He was very proud to be working on this production." He continued, "He was very much the life of the party. When we had time off, he would hit the local bars or listen to music by the pool."
As for Aguilar, Albelda said, "Paco and I met at the first theater audition I ever had. I want everyone to know that his stage name Mufote represents his three biggest passions: music, photography, and theater. What stood out about Paco the most was his generosity, his empathy, and how humble he was. He treated everyone equally from the extras to the star of whatever project he was involved in."
Despite their tragic death, Albelda was glad that his late friends did not die of diseases. "I find comfort in that Paco and Ray died that way and not from an incurable disease or something worse," he confessed. "Their deaths are tragic but I told their families to find comfort in the fact that they were doing what they loved the most. They were living their dream."
Though the tragedy forcibly took his friends, Albelda was not dissuaded from pursuing his career in acting. "I was given the gift of living another day and I don't take that lightly. I want to continue acting and honor Paco and Ray by sharing everything that they taught me," he insisted. "I will share my dream with them for the rest of my life."
Deadline reported that the memorial service to honor Cruz and Aguilar was held on Tuesday afternoon, June 21. In addition to Albelda, other friends also came to pay their final tributes for the two actors who were killed on June 16 when their van crashed and overturned on a road on the Baja California Sur peninsula on the way to the airport.
Sharing what he recalled before the crash, Albelda dished, "Inside the van, the setup was three rows for passengers behind the driver and passenger seats in the front. I normally sat in the second row, and believe that's where I was sitting when the accident happened."
"It's my understanding that Paco and Ray were sitting in different rows, at the end closest to the van's sliding door," he added. "I have been told the van spun around many times and the sliding door flew open. My guess based on what I've been told is that [without seatbelts], Paco and Ray were ejected."
Albelda also spilled, "One thing I will say is that no one encouraged those sitting in the back of the van to use seatbelts. Only the driver and the front passenger consistently used seatbelts. To be clear, there were seatbelts in the vans, but rarely did anyone use them. I will speak for myself in saying I never did. I always felt safe while in the van and I couldn't have imagined that a terrible accident like this could happen."