Sunday, April 15, 2007

Don Ho Passes Away

A day of mourning in Hawaii and across the world. Legendary entertainer Don Ho died Saturday morning in Honolulu. Ho died of heart failure. Few other details have been released. The 76-year-old recently battled health problems. In 2005, he traveled to Thailand for an experimental procedure to inject stem cells into his heart to strengthen it. Mayor Mufi Hannemann said, "I knew Don since I was kid growing up in Kalihi. He helped my brother Nephi get started in show business. ... "He showed that Hawaiians, Polynesians, could rise from humble local roots to succeed and excel on a national and global level. As a living symbol of Hawaii at the peak of his career, he helped spark our visitor industry boom of the '60s and '70s."U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka wrote in a statement, "Don was a big star wherever he went. He even played Washington DC when I was in the House. And I can tell you, it was a big show. He had tremendous charisma and talent and because of that he touched many people. Hawaii has lost a beloved son.and he will be sorely missed." Don Ho was born in Kakaako, August 13, 1930. He was raised in Kaneohe and attended Kamehameha Schools. Out of school, Ho joined the Air Force because he was fascinated by the planes he saw over the islands during the World War. He left the Air Force in 1959, and returned home. He got his start in music, by singing at his mom's nightspot "Honey's" in Kaneohe. Soon he moved to the old Duke Kahanamoku's in the International Marketplace in Waikiki, where the group Don Ho and the Alii's gained fame. He is survived by wife Haumea, and 10 children.