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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 3:06 p.m., Thursday, March 15, 2007

OHA trustee, 'Hawai'i's Canary' Dela Cruz dies

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Lillian Leialoha

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Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Lillian Leialoha "Linda" Keawe'ehu Dela Cruz, known in entertainment circles as "Hawai'i's Canary," died this morning at her home in the Pana'ewa section of Hilo, OHA said in a statement.

Dela Cruz, 77, was known for her "ha'i" style of falsetto singing and was honored in 2003 by the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts with a Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award.

She was first elected to the OHA board in 2000, and she won re-election to the Hawai'i Island seat in 2004 for a term that was to run through 2008. The OHA board now has 60 days to select a replacement. If trustees cannot name a replacement in that time, the governor has 30 days to choose one.

Dela Cruz was also past president of several community organizations including the Pana'ewa Farmers Association, the Pana'ewa Hawaiian Homes Community Association and the Keaukaha-Pana'ewa Community Association.