KITV managing editor Robert Kekaula died Saturday. He was 56.
“We have heavy hearts this morning as our ohana has lost its mighty wings,” his family said in a statement. “Robert Kaleimomi Kekaula passed peacefully at 8:25 a.m., surrounded by his family. He lived his life his way and was so much to so many people. His heart was full of love for his family, sports, and most of all, music. Our wings are broken, but we will fly one day again. And Robert will fly beside us and continue to guide us along the way. Mahalo to everyone who touched his life along this journey. Aloha Oe to our father, partner, brother, uncle, and friend. We ask for privacy as we get through this difficult time.”
Kekaula worked all his life in Honolulu. He started his broadcast career in 1986 at KHVH radio. One year later, he took his first TV job at Honolulu CBS affiliate KGMB as a weekend sports producer. He joined KITV for the first time as a weekend sports anchor/reporter in 1989 before joining Honolulu NBC affiliate KHNL in 1994.
He returned to KITV as sports director in 1997. He also worked as color commentator for the University of Hawaii football games on radio and television from 1992 to 2010, and was named the TV play-by-play voice of the Warriors in 2011.
In addition to his journalism career, Kekaula had also recorded three solo albums and owned his own music production company, A Guava Ding Thing.
“This is very sad for KITV and the community,” said KITV news director Janice S. Gin. “Robert was a great friend and a great journalist. A man of wisdom and passion, Robert was a guiding force in our newsroom. He leaves a legacy of being a great communicator, one who understood people of all walks. He appreciated the human spirit and human potential. He loved Hawaii and the culture that made him proud to be a native son of the Islands.”