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Hawaii Five-0 star and former sumo wrestler Taylor Wily dies aged 56

Hawaii Five-0 executive producer Peter M Lenkov confirmed his death and shared multiple tributes to the actor on Instagram.

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Actor Taylor Wily gesturing

Taylor Wily, a former sumo wrestler who became known for his role as confidential informant Kamekona Tupuola on both Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum PI, has died aged 56.

Hawaii Five-0 executive producer Peter M Lenkov confirmed his death to The Associated Press and shared multiple tributes to the actor on Instagram, writing “I am devastated. Heartbroken” in a caption of a photo of the two.

KITV 4, based in Honolulu, was the first to report Wily’s death on Thursday. Additional details about the cause remain unknown.

TV and radio personality Lina Girl Langi said on the show Island Life Live that she announced the news “with a heavy heart” as Wily was a friend.

Mr Lenkov, Wily’s longtime friend and collaborator, shared a second post later on Thursday with a video montage featuring photos and clips with Wily.

He wrote: “You charmed me into making you a regular … on the show … and in my life. You were family. And I will miss you every day, brother.”

In an additional statement to the AP, Mr Lenkov said it was hard to describe how “special” Wily was and lauded the actor for his skills.

“Despite the fact that a lot of his Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum scenes featured his comedy skills, he was an incredible dramatic actor as well,” Mr Lenvok said.

“I had developed a script a couple years back and wrote him a role and was hoping to put him in my next project. I just wanted to keep him close, not just as a friend, but as an artist. Devastated I won’t get that opportunity.”

Wily played Kamekona on Hawaii Five-0 from 2010 to 2020 and became a fan-favourite. He continued in the same role with the reboot of Magnum PI and made a memorable appearance as a hotel worker in the 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Before he began acting, Wily, born Teila Tuli, was a well-known sumo wrestler and UFC 1 fighter. He became the first knockout victim in UFC history in 1993 when opponent Gerard Gordeau’s kick knocked a tooth out of Wily’s mouth, ending the fight after just 26 seconds.

Wily is survived by his wife, Halona, and their two children.

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