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Last night I was told by a friend that actor Keo Woolford had passed away.

This morning I was informed that that information was erroneous. He is however in critical condition. I will refrain from stating more as the information is through the grapevine.

Apparently Friday he had suffered a stroke, according to several tweets.

He and his family are in need of your loving thoughts.

 

UPDATE: An update to Keo’s Facebook page was posted an hour ago.

 

I am saddened to hear that the actor Keo Woolford has passed away.

According to tweets from fans and friends, on Friday he had suffered a stroke. Just the previous day, on Thanksgiving, Keo posted on Facebook, “In all things give thanks… Continued blessings, everyone.”

I couldn’t say I knew Keo. In fact, I only met him once briefly. But his career and his choices affected me profoundly. As an artist who actively promoted Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawai’ian) values and culture, Keo’s career included award-winning contributions in stage, screen, dance, and music. For me, the importance of seeing someone garner respect and fame through the sharing of his love for the Native Hawai’ian culture cannot be understated. I’ve listened to my family stories of how they had to hide their heritage, how it was a source of shame not too long ago. So when Keo’s film, Na Kamalei: Men of Hula, was released, I felt a new sense of pride wash over me, pride for my heritage and much pride for my Hawai’ian brother.

Mahalo, Keo, for your contributions to the world. I admired you from afar and looked up to you as an artist, a Kanaka, and as a human being.

 

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