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Keo Woolford, Hawaii Five-0 Actor, Dies at 49

Updated

 

Keo Woolford, an actor on the CBS show Hawaii Five-0, has died. He was 49.

Woolford, who wrote, directed and produced the 2013 independent film The Haumana, died on Monday afternoon at a hospital in Oahu, Hawaii, three days after suffering a “severe” stroke on Nov. 25, his publicist Tracy Larrua confirmed to PEOPLE.

Woolford was in the process of finalizing his follow-up film, The Haumana 2, Larrua stated. The Haumana told the story of a host of a struggling luau show who reconnects with his culture after he takes over a high school hula class for boys.

Cast mate Daniel Dae Kim also took to Twitter to share the sad news. “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.”

Woolford, a native of Honolulu, had a recurring role as Det. James Chang on the remake of CBS’ Hawaii Five-0, as well as small roles in films like Happy Texas (1999), Act of Valor (2012) and Godzilla (2014). He starred in more than 300 performances as the King of Siam in The King & I at the London Palladium.

Actress Kelly Hu, who starred in the CW show Arrow and who had a role in Woolford’s The Haumana, said the actor gave her creative freedom when it came to portraying her character in his film.

“He didn’t pigeon hole me like so many other people in Hollywood did,” she said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “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.”

Woolford’s niece, Raeceen Woolford Satele, remembers the actor as a “friend, counselor and confidante” in a statement issued to PEOPLE.

“I think being related to Keo has been a true honor,” she 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.”

The film closed the 2013 Hawaii International Film Festival, and Woolford received a special jury prize at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival for best first feature.