Legend Willie K. opens up about his music, his cancer fight and his legacy

Updated: Feb. 5, 2020 at 6:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just more than two years after Willie K. revealed that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, at least one thing is certain: his desire to continue performing remains as strong as his sense of humor.

“Every show I get is sold out now,” the beloved musician joked with Hawaii News Now on Wednesday. “Iʻm like, ‘Wow, this is going crazy. Whatʻs the big deal?’ I didn’t want to say it, but I never knew I had to die to get all the guests to show up!”

Though laughter is often the best medicine, there’s no denying that his humor ― and his will ― have been tested in recent weeks.

On Monday, Willie K. revealed that his cancer had become terminal, having spread from his left lung to his right and up toward his brain. He also has shoulder problems that prevent him from playing some of his guitars.

And while he prefers to keep the humor high, he admits that he is in nearly constant pain.

“Pretty much, pretty much. But you know, you deal with this every day,” he said. “I can see why people give up. I can see why people no like do the extra serving of chemotherapy.”

His medication can make him antsy at times, but he has something else for the pain.

“My music. My music, my fans,” he said. “My little girls and my wife. But mostly my fans.”

The fans, he says, have been amazing. They send money and they send stories. Cancer survivors who say they’ve battled for seven or eight years tell him he’ll push through.

“It just goes around. It’s a circle of aloha, man,” Willie K. says.

On Sunday, he said ‘thanks’ the best way he knows how: by bringing down the house while singing his rendition of “Kansas City Here I Come.”

The cancer, he says, has given him one more reason to to give his all every time heʻs on stage.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Hawaiian music artist Willie K. took to social media Wednesday to update his fans on ongoing battle with lung cancer.

In a video posted to Facebook, he announced his cancer is at the terminal stage.

Adding to his announcement, he promised to continue “rocking on.”

“What I said earlier about stages of my cancer, yes I’m at terminal now and I’m still going to be rocking on. I’m not going to stop. This cancer is not going to take me down — especially with all your blessings, from you, each and everyone of you," he said in the video.

“Praise God, praise Jesus, he will always take care of you."

He made the video after a concert at Blue Note Hawaii in Waikiki.

His spirits remained high during the concert, saying what was supposed to be only a 90-minute set lasted for two hours. The crowd deserved it, he said.

“I’d just like to say mahalo to all my fans out there for enjoying my show and stuff like that,” he added.

The singer and guitarist was diagnosed with lung cancer in Feb. 2018. He’s a beloved island entertainer who has racked up many Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in his lengthy career.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.