‘Hawaii Five-0’ fan favorite and former UFC fighter Taylor Wily dies

‘Hawaii Five-0’ fan favorite and former UFC fighter Taylor Wily dies at 56

/ 06:50 PM June 23, 2024

‘Hawaii Five-0’ fan favorite and former UFC fighter Taylor Wily dies at 56

FILE – Actor Taylor Wily, also known as Teila Tuli, gestures to fans after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers in Seattle on June 14, 2014. Wily, an actor known for his roles on “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I,” has died at 56. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

LOS ANGELES — Taylor Wily, a former sumo wrestler who became known for his role as confidential informant Kamekona Tupuola on both “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I,” has died, his friend and a “Hawaii Five-0” producer both said Friday. He was 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.

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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.

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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, 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,” 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.”

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Wily played Kamekona on “Hawaii Five-0” from 2010 through 2020 and became a fan-favorite. He continued in the same role with the reboot of “Magnum P.I.” 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 clear out of Wily’s mouth, ending the fight after just 26 seconds.

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

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TAGS: `Hawaii five-o’, celebrity death

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