Famous Hawaiian falsetto singer Richard Hoopii's son dies in tra - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Famous Hawaiian falsetto singer Richard Hoopii's son dies in tragic accident

Ramzey Hoopii with his daughter Kamea Drayer-Hoopii Ramzey Hoopii with his daughter Kamea Drayer-Hoopii
Hoopii family Hoopii family
Hoopii family Hoopii family
Richard Hoopii Sr. Richard Hoopii Sr.
Maui Princess Maui Princess
LAHAINA, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A well-known Maui family is mourning the loss of a loved one after a tragic accident Tuesday evening.

Ramzey Hoopii, 41, died from an apparent drowning off Lahaina Harbor.

The 41-year-old from Kahakuloa is the son of famous Hawaiian falsetto singer Richard Hoopii, one of the Hoopii brothers.

"He always had a smile on his face. He was willing to help anyone in need, he had a kind heart, so much aloha," said Torie Hoopii, Ramzey's sister-in-law.

Ramzey was last seen as a passenger on the Maui Princess, the ferry that goes back and forth to Molokai. Police say Ramzey was found floating lifeless in the ocean outside of Lahaina Harbor around 6:15 p.m. Upon being spotted in the water, he was brought aboard the boat where CPR had been performed. Once the boat reached Lahaina Harbor, police, firefighters and medics took over lifesaving measures, but they were unsuccessful.

Family members say it's unsure how Ramzey ended up in the water. Passengers told them he could have slipped and fallen in the bad weather on Tuesday. But the General Manager and Senior Captain of the company, David Jung, says he doesn't think the bad weather played a role in the accident. He says the railings on the boat are very high and it would be very difficult for someone to fall off. Ramzey's family members say Ramzey was a great swimmer.

"Us knowing Ramzey…that he was so efficient in the water, he had great water skills. We're not sure if he could possibly have slipped and hit his head and knocked unconscious, that part we don't know yet," said Torie.

Ramzey has spent years traveling to and from Molokai to see his longtime girlfriend and daughters. Ramzey leaves behind four daughters and one hanai daughter, four of whom live on Molokai. The oldest daughter, Kamea Drayer-Hoopii, lives on Maui. The 15-year-old said the last words she heard from her father was from a voicemail he left her right before he got on the boat.

"It said, ‘Hi Kamea, I love you. It's dad, and I'm coming home,'" she said.

Kamea says she's still trying to grasp the fact that won't be coming home.

"I was kind of in shock. I didn't really think, I mean I hear of all these tragic stories about people's parents dying. I never really thought it would be me one day," she said.

Torie says Ramzey couldn't play slack key guitar like his father, but he could sure sing like him.

"He loved the Hawaiian culture, Hawaiian music, he also sang Leo Kiekie like my father-in-law," Torie said.

"He would give the shirt off his back for anybody, that's the kind of guy he was," she said.

Torie says the family is overwhelmed by all the love and support from the community and they are just trying to stay strong during the holidays.

"It's hard for us during this time because every body's ringing in the New Year, Happy New Year. We're trying to stay positive and just relying on God as our strength but it's hard for my in-laws to go through this…for them to know they have to bury a child, it's heartbreaking," she said.

The Maui Princess is a 120-foot long yacht that's been operating for more than 25 years. Jung says it's the oldest established ferry in the state. He says the Hoopii Brothers played on his boat and his sympathy goes out to the family.

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting an investigation.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine Ramzey's official cause of death.



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