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John Koko, bass player for Makaha Sons, dies at age 51

By Gary Kubota

LAST UPDATED: 09:50 a.m. HST, Jun 26, 2012

• John Kapualani Koko: Photo gallery

A longtime member of the Makaha Sons who performed at Carnegie Hall and before President Bill Clinton died Monday.

John Kapualani Koko was 51.

Koko, who had heart problems and was looking forward to a heart transplant, died at about 4:30 p.m. Monday at Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical  Center, his brother Jerome said.

"I wish I had him just a little bit more," said Jerome, also a member of the Makaha Sons.

Koko, born on Aug. 24, 1960, grew up in a family of five brothers and five sisters in Nanakuli and began his career with the Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau in 1982.

The group included John who played bass, Jerome on guitar, Louis "Moon" Kauakahi on guitar, and well-known Hawaiian singer Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole.

The group who helped to popularize Hawaiian music won numerous awards, including Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and Hawaii Music Awards.

When Kamakawiwo'ole left the Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau in 1993 the group became a trio and changed the name to Makaha Sons.

Jerome Koko said the family was planning to meet today to decide on the memorial service and would probably hold a fund-raiser to defray medical expenses.

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kailuabred wrote:
Too young.
on June 26,2012 | 04:10AM
coloradowarrior wrote:
rest in peace & god bless.
on June 26,2012 | 06:02AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
His music will be playing at MY funeral God bless John, until we see you again brah.
on June 26,2012 | 06:04AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
Can someone post the Makaha Sons singing the national anthem at the Patriot's game on YouTube?
on June 26,2012 | 06:09AM
Nesmith wrote:
Please - I would like to hear it too. Bless you John. I will remember you.
on June 26,2012 | 06:28AM
Descartes22 wrote:
Yes, the Patriots game national anthem was memorable.
on June 26,2012 | 07:35AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Sad day indeed. God Bless his Ohana. "I"ll remember you"........
on June 26,2012 | 06:53AM
Nakoafan wrote:
Truly, truly, a nice person.
on June 26,2012 | 06:59AM
mokebla wrote:
Mahalo John for all the wonderful years you gave us and Hawaii. God bless you and the Makaha sons.
on June 26,2012 | 07:11AM
808Cindy wrote:
Thank you John for all the great music, memories and love you gave all of us here in Hawaii.
on June 26,2012 | 07:38AM
uhsportsfan wrote:
Sad day. Rest in Peace, John, and God Bless the family.
on June 26,2012 | 07:49AM
waverider808 wrote:
wow what a shocker this morning. may you rest in peace john......thank you for all the music and for spreading the aloha around the world.....
on June 26,2012 | 07:55AM
kainalu wrote:
Nanakuli's own. There's so many gears in play - Hawaiians, Niihau, and Nanakuli. Usually not at a lost for words, for this moment, I am.
on June 26,2012 | 07:56AM
false wrote:
We have some of the best talent on the West Side. We miss you. We will miss you, John, forever. Heaven is happier with Iz and John. Wow!
on June 26,2012 | 09:13AM
waverider808 wrote:
don't forget uncle mo
on June 26,2012 | 01:06PM
likewise wrote:
One of Hawaii's brightest stars has faded away. Truly a loss. Condolences to his family and friends.
on June 26,2012 | 07:58AM
cojef wrote:
Condolences to the surviving members of this family. I got to know this person only recently after getting my i-Pad and listening to his and Iz's music. First Iz and now John, what a loss. It will make me listen more ardently when I play his music. Aloha.
on June 26,2012 | 08:14AM
lowtone123 wrote:
John is reunited with his MSON braddah Iz in heaven. RIP.
on June 26,2012 | 09:08AM
hauoli_53 wrote:
Thank you for all the memories John, We will truly Miss you, Fly with Angels & God be with you till we meet again..ALOHA A Hui Hou
on June 26,2012 | 11:42AM
fshnpoi wrote:
rest in peace brada john. our condolences goes out to john's ohana.
on June 26,2012 | 01:15PM
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