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News broadcaster in Hawai’i passes away at 73

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Emme Tomimbang Burns, a journalist known for championing the Filipino community in Hawai’i, died on Monday. She was 73.

According to Hawaii News Now, the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine confirmed she died Monday while undergoing emergency open heart surgery.

Tomimbang Burns was born on Oct. 28, 1950, in Honolulu, KITV reports. According to the University of Hawai’i News, she grew up in the Kalihi-Palama area, graduating from Farrington High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UH Mānoa in 1973.

As a journalist, Tomimbang Burns paved the way for Filipinos and young women. According to KITV, she hosted her own radio show as a teenager for KNDI. After college, she went on to work for several local radio and television stations, starting her own morning show at KHON.

Eventually, she created her own production company Emme Tomimbang Multi-Media Enterprises (EMME, Inc.). The company hosted a show called “Emme’s Island Moments,” which highlighted the stories of local community members in Hawai’i.

Tomimbang Burns was also the widow of the late Chief Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals James S. Burns, who was the son of former Hawaii Gov. John A. Burns. She created scholarships for Native Hawai’ian students and students committed to serving the Filipino community at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Prominent leaders and community members issued statements offering their condolences.

“A talented journalist and beloved community leader, my friend Emme Tomimbang Burns helped tell the stories of Hawaii for decades,” U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

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