Beloved Hawaiian musician Eddie Kamae dies

Published: Jan. 7, 2017 at 5:33 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 7, 2017 at 10:45 PM HST
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(Image: Kamae Family)
(Image: Kamae Family)
(Image: Sons of Hawaii)
(Image: Sons of Hawaii)
(Image: Kamae Family)
(Image: Kamae Family)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Beloved Hawaiian composer and musician Eddie Kamae has died. He was 89.

The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation says Kamae died just before 7 a.m. Saturday with his wife Myrna by his side. Friends and family said one of his most famous songs, "E Ku`u Morning Dew," played in the background.

Friends said Kamae had been in hospice care.

He is most known as the lead singer in Sons of Hawaii and won several Na Hoku Hanohano awards throughout his career. He is credited as being one of the pioneers of Hawaiian music during the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance of the 1960s and 70s.

Famous songs Kamae recorded include 'E Ku`u Morning Dew' and 'Pua Hone'

In 1992, a Lifetime Achievement Award was given to the group Sons of Hawaii. This would be followed in the coming years by many Na Hoku Hanohano Awards including a 2005 Hoku for Album of the Year and Anthology of the Year.

Edward Leilani Kamae was born on August 4, 1927. He first rose to prominence in 1948 as an ukulele virtuoso. He co-founded the Sons of Hawaii in 1960 with his friend Gabby Pahinui. Together with Joe Marshall and David "Feets" Rogers, Kamae and Pahinui performed a repertoire of Hawaiian music, including songs composed by Queen Liliuokalani that Kamae found in the Bishop Museum Archives.

Together, the Sons of Hawaii would record 14 albums.

According to the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation, Kamae received nearly 50 awards, honor and tributes, including Master of Traditional Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Hawaii for "a lifetime of achievements in preserving Hawaiian language and culture through music and film." He was also recognized in 1979 as a Living Treasure of Hawaii by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, and in 2007 he was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.

Kamae is survived by his wife Myrna, whom he married in 1966, along with his brother Alfred, hanai daughters Jo Kamae Byrne and Kathy Medeiros, and several nieces and nephews.

Private services will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that contributions be made to the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation.

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