The hula world is mourning the loss of a legend. Auntie Leilani Alama, who has been teaching hula for more than 70 years, passed away Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer.
The kumu hula started teaching at the age of 15. In 1943, she opened her own hula studio in Kaimuki where she continued to teach regularly until a few months ago.
Auntie Leilani and her sister, Puanani were honored at last year's Merrie Monarch festival.
Last year Gov. Abercrombie issued a proclamation making Aug. 4, 2013 'Leilani Alama Hula Studio Day' in Hawaii, recognizing Alama for her contributions to culture and the arts.
The Hula Preservation Society posted on its Facebook Page, "Rest in peace dear Auntie Leilani. You have enriched countless lives through your spirit, dedication, and aloha. We join in so many others who can also say, "We will never forget you."
Services for Auntie Leilani are set for Wednesday, April 16 at Diamond Head Cemetery from 5 to 9 p.m.