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 Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo'ole

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Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo'ole

  • Birth 20 May 1959 Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
  • Death 26 Jun 1997 Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
  • Cenotaph Kaneohe, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
  • Memorial ID 7870968

Musician. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, or Braddah Iz as he was more commonly known, was a native Hawaiian musician. Iz, also nicknamed "The Gentle Giant" was a cheerful man who loved Hawaii, both its land and the people. As a skilled ukulele player he fused contemporary music with jazz and reggae to produce his own unique sound. He is regarded as one of the major influences in contemporary Hawaiian music. Iz was born to Henry and Evangeline and was raised in Kaimuki. He had an older sister Lydia and older brother Skippy. He started playing music with Skippy at age 11 and was fortunate to meet several great Hawaiian entertainers (Peter Moon, Don Ho). In 1976 he helped form the Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau and they toured throughout the United States. In 1990 Iz released his first solo album which he garnered awards for Contemporary Album and Male Vocalist of the Year from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts. His popular Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World medley was released in 1993 on the Facing Future album. Iz was married to Marlene and they had a daughter Ceslieanne. Despite not earning a high school diploma, Iz was a good role model, promoting Hawaiian independence through his actions and music and kicking a drug habit. Late in his life he became a Christian. Iz died of respiratory illness due to obesity at Queen's Medical Center. His coffin lay in state at the Capitol building in Honolulu and Hawai'i State Flags flew at half-staff on July 10, 1997. Later his ashes were scattered at Makua Beach.

Bio by: Megan





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mongoose
  • Added: 15 Sep 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7870968
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo'ole (20 May 1959–26 Jun 1997), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7870968, citing Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetery, Kaneohe, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .