'Hawaii Five-0' Star Passes Away At 56

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Taylor Wily, renowned for his role as Kamekona Tupuola in the popular crime dramas “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I.,” has passed away at the age of 56. The actor and former wrestler, a native of Hawaii, died on Thursday, KITV News reported. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Before venturing into acting, Wily made a mark in the world of sumo wrestling, becoming one of the first participants from Hawaii to compete professionally in Japan. His sumo career, however, was short-lived due to injuries and he eventually transitioned to mixed martial arts.

Wily’s foray into acting was somewhat fortuitous, spring boarding from his athletic background into roles that often highlighted his imposing physical presence and Polynesian heritage. His character Kamekona in “Hawaii Five-0” is a beloved figure, a local entrepreneur who runs a shrimp truck and serves as an occasional informant to the main characters. The role allowed Wily to showcase a blend of humor and sincerity, making Kamekona a fan favorite and a symbol of local Hawaiian culture.

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA – May 30, 2016: Waikiki Memorial Day Parade – Teila Tuli, also known as Taylor Wily is an American actor and a former sumo wrestler and mixed martial artist.

Peter Lenkov, Wily’s former colleague who brought him onto the show, paid tribute to him remembering the actor. “I am devastated. Heartbroken. I’ll post some detailed feelings later. Just too hard right now,” Lenkov wrote on Instagram.

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“T, as I told you many times, I fell in love with you at the first audition,” Lenkov wrote in a follow-up post. “You came in with a towel on your head mopping up sweat, and I was smitten. 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.”

“PS: when we spoke last week, we laughed at how right you were from Day 1. Five-0 was our dream job. And I was so lucky we got to share that magic together,” he finished.

Beyond “Hawaii Five-0,” Wily appeared in various other television shows and movies, often cast in roles that emphasized his unique look and charisma. His transition from sports to acting is notable not just for the career change but for how seamlessly he managed to redefine his public persona.

Wily’s impact extended beyond the screen. He was an advocate for Hawaiian culture and participated in many community activities in Hawaii. His journey from athlete to actor is a testament to his versatility and determination, embodying the spirit of transformation and resilience. His legacy, particularly through his role as Kamekona, has left a lasting impression on fans and the Hawaiian community alike, celebrating local culture while reaching a global audience.

Wily leaves behind his wife, Halona, and their two children.

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Source
Las Vegas News Magazine

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