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Taylor Wily Passes Away at 56: Remembering the ‘Hawaii Five-0’ Star and Former Sumo Wrestler

Taylor Wily, known for his role as Kamekona on the television reboot of “Hawaii Five-0” and as a former professional sumo wrestler, passed away on Thursday at the age of 56. His death was confirmed by his legal representative, Paul Almond, though details on the location and cause were not immediately available.

Wily’s character in “Hawaii Five-0” became a beloved part of the show, appearing in over 170 episodes from 2010 to 2020, where he played a shrimp truck vendor and police informant who also ran a shaved-ice business and a helicopter tour company.

Wily’s portrayal of Kamekona added warmth and humor to “Hawaii Five-0,” making him a fan favorite and resonating with audiences both locally and internationally. Masi Oka, who co-starred with Wily, humorously suggested the series could be renamed “Kamekona Five-0” due to the character’s popularity.

The show’s producer, Peter Lenkov, shared on social media that he was impressed with Wily from his first audition and decided to make Kamekona a recurring character due to Wily’s impactful performance.

Taylor Wily

Taylor Wily

In addition to his role in “Hawaii Five-0,” Wily appeared in the 2008 film “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” as Kemo, a hotel staff member who provided comedic relief. Wily’s quiet humor in this role helped bring levity to scenes involving heartbreak. His acting career also included a guest appearance in a 1982 episode of “Magnum, P.I.,” and roles in shows such as “Marker” and “North Shore.”

Before his acting career, Taylor Wily, born Taylor Tuli Wily on June 14, 1968, in Honolulu, was a successful sumo wrestler. He was introduced to the sport in 1987 and quickly became passionate about it.

Competing under the name Takamishu, Wily won several championships and became the first non-Japanese-born wrestler to win a title match in the Makushita division. However, knee injuries led him to retire from sumo in 1989, after which he transitioned to mixed martial arts, participating in the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993.

Wily is survived by his wife, Halona Wily, and their two children. Reflecting on his career and role in “Hawaii Five-0” in a 2014 interview with Hawaii News Now, Wily expressed his gratitude for being able to work in Hollywood while staying in Hawaii, calling it “the best job in the world.”

His passing marks the end of a diverse and impactful career, both in sports and entertainment, leaving behind a legacy cherished by fans and colleagues alike.

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