Dennis Kamakahi: 1953-2014Slack-key master revered as a music legendBy Michael Tsai
Multiple news organizations are reporting that local entertainer Dennis Kamakahi has died at the age of 61.
A Facebook entry attributed to Kamakahi's son David announced Kamakahi's death, saying in part:
"Hawaii has lost one of its greatest sons today. Legendary musician & composer, loving husband, father, and grandfather, Dennis David Kamakahi, passed away at the Queens Medical Center at 4:30 p.m. After his battle with cancer, he was surrounded by family and close friends, with the background filled with the music of Gabby Pahinui and The Sons of Hawaii. We cried, we prayed, we laughed, we sang for him his many songs that he wrote and also favorites of his own."
Reached via a telephone number on the teamdenniskamakahi.com website, which had been used to promote a benefit concert for Kamakahi on March 31, David Kamakahi declined to confirm his father's death Monday.
In the Facebook posting, the family asked for privacy and noted that any updates would be posted on the website.
Kamakahi's friends, family and fans reacted swiftly to the news of his death on a variety of social media sites.
Singer Amy Hanaiali‘i tweeted, "I am so sad to hear of the passing of my dear cousin Dennis Kamakahi. He will always be an inspiration to me, in mele, true aloha and hawaiian (sic) spirituality. May our ancestors carry you to your peaceful place with Akua … love you cousin."
A renowned slack-key guitar player and prolific songwriter, Kamakahi garnered numerous recognitions in a career spanning more than four decades. He contributed to three Grammy Award-winning recordings ("Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" in 2007, "Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" in 2008 and "The Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" in 2010) and won six Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.
Kamakahi's seminal work with the Sons of Hawaii (he replaced Gabby Pahinui in 1974) earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts in 2009. He was inducted to the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame that same year.
Kamakahi, a Christian minister, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in March while undergoing treatment for pneumonia.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased