State Sen. Gil Kahele, 73, has died, according to his colleagues in the Legislature.
Senate President Ron Kouchi interrupted a hearing on campaign spending bills this morning to inform fellow senators who paused for a moment of silence.
Kahele was hospitalized last week for undisclosed health issues, missing the opening day of the 2016 Legislature Wednesday.
Kahele was born in the fishing village of Milolii in South Kona before moving to Hilo, according to information on the Legislature’s website. He graduated from Hilo High School, served in the U.S. Marine Corps and graduated from Laney College in Oakland, Calif.
He worked for the Hawaii State Department of Defense for 33 years, rising to director of public works at the Pohakuloa Training Area.
In 2011, former Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Kahele as senator for the district encompassing Hilo, Puna and Kau on Hawaii island. He was later elected in 2012 to represent the community of Hilo, as a result of reapportionment.
Kahele served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Tourism and International Affairs.