When Israel Ka’ano’i Kamakawiwo’ole begins playing the first verse of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” most people are immediately mesmerized by his soulful voice and gentle ukulele strumming. But, behind the music, lies a man that has touched the lives of million with his artistic skill and Hawaiian advocacy projects.
During his life, Israel was known as the “Gentle Giant.” Despite his enormous stature, his soul and singing voice was as soft as could be! Unfortunately, the Gentle Giant’s size was the cause of his devastating demise.
Israel was considered to be obese, and his condition led to a host of other health problems like cardiac and respiratory illnesses.
The problems were a prominent cause of his passing in 1997 at the young age of 38. Even though he’s now looking down at us from Heaven, he left us with a precious gift: his music. Listen to his song with a fresh perspective of the man behind it in the video below! You are surely missed, Israel!