Close Friend Remembers Don Ho

Jimmy Borges
Jimmy Borges

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Don Ho is the man, and will always be the man.

That's how fellow entertainer, and longtime friend Jimmy Borges is remembering Ho, who died Saturday after a heart attack.

Borges says because of his earlier heart surgery, many knew this day would soon come, but it's still hard to believe Ho is gone.

Tears collect in his eyes, and he can barely find the words.

As Hawaii mourns the loss, Borges loses so much more.

"I loved him very much," said Borges. "He was one of my dearest friends."

Back in the day, Ho mentored Borges in the entertainment biz. Over the 30-plus years, their relationship grew to friend and confidant. Borges says lately, the two would reminisce about the good old days.

"The women adored him, the men envied him," said Borges.

"That's what we did. We laughed about it. 'Those days are gone Jimmy, they're gone. But they were fun, huh?' Borges said, impersonating Ho's low mumbling voice. "That was Don."

Borges says Ho was also the consumate showman. Despite his heart not being 100-percent, Ho still wanted to please his fans.

"He kept his two shows a week, to keep himself going, cause that's why he lived -- he lived to entertain," said Borges.

And that is what he will miss most.

"I won't have the opportunity to go, and see him and sit in at his shows and sing with him, or see him backstage and have fun and laugh about our younger days," said a teary eyed Borges.

The laughter may be gone, and the music may have stopped, but Borges is confident Ho is still entertaining.

"I'm sure he's in right now, telling God where to put the lights, and how he wants the microphone," said Borges. "Come on, I want the microphone over here okay," said Borges, again impersonating Ho.

Borges says he was amazed, that no matter how big Ho was, he treated every person with respect. He called him a class act, a great singer, and a great person.