Makaha Sons' John Koko dead at 51

Published: Jun. 26, 2012 at 1:58 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 26, 2012 at 4:50 PM HST
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Makaha Sons' John Koko died Monday at the age of 51
Makaha Sons' John Koko died Monday at the age of 51
The Makaha Sons
The Makaha Sons
John Koko
John Koko

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - John Kapualani Koko, the longtime bassist and singer with the Makaha Sons has died.

His many admirers Monday night are lighting up his Facebook page with condolences and remembrances.

"Some of us are smiling tonight because we know there's a little bit of a reunion going on with Israel Kamakawiwoʻole," said Billy V of Hawaiian 105 KINE. "He loved playing music, so many musicians were also mentored by him, he'd give them advice and talk story with them, tell them about how it was in the business, he would constantly share of himself, the music he loved so much."

Koko had only been playing the upright bass for a few years before joining the Makaha Sons in 1982.

Koko had been in the music industry for almost 30 years, 22 of those years with the Makaha Sons. He started his career at age 12 with a group called "Na Leo O Nanakuli," who are now known as "Third Road Delight."

It wasn't just his talent, but his infectious personality and his smile that turned strangers into fans all over the world.

Close friends affectionately called him, "handsome."

Born and raised in Nanakuli, Koko once said he only played the bass because his brother Jerome already played the 12-string guitar.

For three decades he's kept that unique Hawaiian music beat.

In the end, after a few years of health challenges we're told his heart gave out.

The heart and soul in his music… live on.

"The Makaha Sons are one of the biggest musical entities in Hawaiian music and it's a tremendous loss."

John Kapualani Koko was 51 years old.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.