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Don Ho makes post-surgery appearance

The 75-year-old singer played in front of a sold-out audience
/ Source: The Associated Press

Hawaiian crooner Don Ho has returned to the stage, less than two months after undergoing a stem-cell procedure in Thailand to strengthen his heart.

The 75-year-old Ho sang for 90 minutes before a Sunday-night sellout crowd of 300 people at the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel.

It was his first performance since Thanksgiving Day.

On Dec. 6, Ho underwent a new treatment that hasn’t been approved in the United States. It involves multiplying stem cells taken from his blood and injecting them into his heart in hopes of strengthening it.

Wearing white pants, a blue velvet shirt and a white ginger lei, Ho sat behind an organ and kicked off a 10-song show with, “Night Life,” followed by his signature tune “Tiny Bubbles.”

Joe Correa, a rancher who went to the show with his wife and some friends, said Ho was “sharp as a tack.”

“It was great to see him do what he does,” Correa said.

Jim and Linda Udell, visiting from Oregon, said this was the first time they had seen Ho since 1977.

“We came back to see the legend,” Jim Udell said.

Ho has entertained tourists for more than four decades and hosted the “The Don Ho Show” on ABC in 1976 and 1977. He has been suffering from heart problems for about a year.

Ho had a pacemaker implanted a few months ago, but still felt weak and tired after a few steps. Before the surgery, he said, his heart was operating at only 25 percent.

For now, Ho will perform on Sundays only. He said he may add more shows at a later date.