Willie K, the Hawaiian music star, has died, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports. The musician, songwriter, and producer was the recipient of numerous Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards (considered Hawaii’s equivalent of the Grammys) throughout his career. Willie K was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018. He was 59.

“He fought hard for over two years while still performing,” a post on Willie K’s Facebook page announced. “In mid-February of this year, he was hospitalized for pneumonia which caused complications with his lung cancer. He was in positive spirits and doing okay, and he was looking forward to performing again. He then suddenly turned for the worse and lost his battle.”

Born William Awihilima Kahaiali‘i, Willie K’s debut album Kahaiali‘i was released in 1991. He recorded several albums over the years, including multiple collaborations with Amy Hanaiali‘i. He received the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. He hosted the annual Willie K’s BBQ Bluesfest at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. He performed with stars like Mick Fleetwood, Steven Tyler, Alice Cooper, Billy Gibbons, and more at the event.

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