Former Hawaii County mayor succumbs to cancer: Billy Kenoi leaves a long legacy of a bodacious life

Mayor Billy Kenoi starts his run at the 2014 Ironman World Championship on Saturday. (Photos by Laura Ruminski/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Former Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi spoke last month during the inauguration of Mayor Mitch Roth in Hilo.

Former Mayor Billy Kenoi holds a guitar signed by band members of the Eagles, the prize for a “heads or tails” game at the 2016 Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation Awards Ceremony at the Fairmont Orchid.

Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks at the blessing of Hale Kikaha micro housing units in 2016.

Mayor Billy Kenoi thanks all the principals involved in the completion of the Laaloa Avenue extension during the blessing and opening of the roadway in 2015. Laura Ruminski/Special to West Hawaii Today

Mayor Billy Kenoi cuts fish for his poke recipe in the Celebrity Poke Competition at the 2014 Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Mayor Billy Kenoi offers a hookupu at the dedication of O‘oma in 2014. (Photos by LAURA Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Hawaii lost a rising political star and ambassador of aloha Tuesday with the death of former Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi. Kenoi, 52, succumbed to myelofibrosis, a rare form of leukemia he’d been battling since 2015.