Wille K, one of Hawaii’s top musicians of the past several decades, has died.

According to Civil Beat media partner Hawaii News Now, Willie K was 59 and died Monday in Wailuku, Maui, after a long fight with lung cancer.

“Thank you to EVERYONE for all the love, support and prayers you have given,” loved ones said in a post on his Facebook page early Tuesday. “Although he was in positive spirits and doing okay, he was looking forward to performing again. He then suddenly turned for the worse and lost his battle.”

Wille K performing in 2010. Flickr: Hawaii Air National Guard

Born William Awihilima Kahaiali’i, the singer, songwriter and guitarist was known for songs like “You Ku’uipo” and “Katchi Katchi Music Makawao.”

But his style ranged widely, from Hawaiian to the blues, to jazz, rock and reggae.

His version of the Christmas standard “O Holy Night” is also widely admired.

He was the winner of 19 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Willie K announced he was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2018. He kept performing even as he received medical treatment.

Read more of HNN’s report.

Something to consider...

Civil Beat is a small, independent newsroom that provides free content with no paywall. That means readership growth alone can’t sustain our journalism.

The truth is that less than 2% of our monthly readers are financial supporters. To remain a viable business model for local news, we need a higher percentage of readers-turned-donors.

Will you consider making a tax-deductible gift today?

About the Author