Keo Woolford Dies; Hawaii Five-0 Star Was 49

Keo Woolford, a veteran actor best known for his role on Hawaii Five-0, died on Monday at a hospital in Oahu.

He was 49 years old.

Keo Woolford

Woolford – who also wrote, directed and produced the 2013 independent movie The Haumana – passed away three days after suffering a “severe” stroke on November 25, according to his publicist, Tracy Larrua.

She went on to say that Woolford was in the process of finalizing his follow-up film, The Haumana 2, at the time of his unexpected death.

The original film told the tale a struggling luau show host who reconnects with his culture after he taking over a high school hula class for boys.

Woolford was a native of Honolulu and enjoyed a recurring role on the CBS drama as Detective James Chang.

You may also recognize him from such movies as Happy Texas (1999), Act of Valor (2012) and Godzilla (2014).

Throughout his career, Woolford starred in more than 300 performances as the King of Siam in The King & I at the London Palladium. He was an accomplished actor.

Hawaii Five-0 star Daniel Dae Kim took to Twitter to share the sad news and pay tribute to his late colleague, writing:

“As talented as you were, I will remember you most for your kindness. Thank you for sharing your light with us, @KeoWoolford. Rest In Peace.”

Dae Kim tweet

In a longer statement, Kelly Hu – who has starred on Arrow and who had a role in Woolford’s The Haumana – said the actor provided her with creative freedom when it came to portraying her character in his film.

She loved working with him.

“He didn’t pigeon hole me like so many other people in Hollywood did,” Hu said, adding:

“He gave me the opportunity to bring the character of Linda to life. He was a great talent who allowed other talents to shine. I will miss my chosen brother immensely.”

Keo Woolford on 50

Then there’s Woolford’s niece, Raeceen Woolford Satele, who thought of the the actor as a “friend, counselor and confidante.”

She said as much in a statement issued to People Magazine.

“I think being related to Keo has been a true honor,” Satele said. “He empowered me to pursue learning more about my Hawaiian culture and affirmed me in everything I did. I am who I am today, due in large part to his constant positivity, grace, and love.”

She alo wrote the following on Twitter:

hu tweet

Woolford’s movie closed the 2013 Hawaii International Film Festival, with Woolford receiving a special jury prize at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival for best first feature.

We send our condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.

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