One of the most prolific writers in Hawaiian music history, Grammy Award-winner and Hall-of-Famer Rev. Dennis Kamakahi passed away Monday afternoon surrounded by music and laughter, his son says.
At just 61-years-old, friends old and new say they feel almost cheated to have such a talent taken so early.
Music filled his life and it was in the air during Dennis Kamakahi's passing at Queens Medical Center. The man who is credited with writing more than 500 songs passed away surrounded by family and close friends.
"We cried, we prayed, we laughed, we sang for him his many songs that he wrote and also favorites of his own," said David Kamakahi, in a statement posted on Facebook.
Less than two months after being diagnosed Kamakahi died from lung cancer, but he'll be remembered for his heart.
His career took off in the early 1970's. He would win three Grammy's and multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards. He and his son David produced songs for the hit Disney movie Lilo & Stitch.
In 2009 he won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts and was also inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.
"A highlight of our careers was playing at the Hollywood Bowl with the Honolulu Symphony back in 1997," said George Kuo, who performed with Kamakahi all over the world with the Sons of Hawaii. "The thoughts of him and memories of him will be in my heart and mind forever, all the laughter, the good times all the great experiences we had together."
"Through his Grammy wins he took Hawaii to a world that we weren't privy to," said Jimmy Borges, Entertainer and cancer survivor. "His job was through. He was taken by God. Yet there was so much more I believe he could have, but who am I to argue with God."
"Uncle Dennis Kamakahi was a true legend in not only Hawaiian music but an ambassador of aloha for all of Hawaii and the world to share. His legacy will live far beyond the physical lives of his children and his grandchildren," said Kale Hannahs, musician with Waipuna, who also played with Kamakahi. "His music is loved by everybody throughout the world and we're just blessed that he shared a little bit of it with us."
Not only was he a legendary musician and composer his family says he was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Reverend Dennis Kamakahi gone but certainly not forgotten.
Memorial services have not been set at this time.
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