‘Hawaii Five-0’ actor Taylor Wily dies at 56

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Actor Taylor Wily, best known for his role as Kamekona Tupuola on “Hawaii Five-0,” has passed away. He was 56 years old.

Lana Girl Langi, a Hawaiian personality and musician, announced his death on the local lifestyle show Island Life Live on June 20.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of a Hawaii celebrity who was also a family friend. Taylor Wily, former wrestler, MMA fighter and actor passed away today in Hurricane, Utah.”

Wily, who hails from Hawaii, performed as an amateur sumo wrestler in Japan under the name Takamikuni in the late ’80s, according to his profile on IMDb. He later competed as Teila Tuli in Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, where he fought Gerard Gordeau at UFC 1: The Beginning in 1993. It was his only MMA fight.

Wiley then switched career paths and took up acting. He’s appeared in Jason Segel’s film “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and the modern reboots of “Hawaii Five-0,” “Magnum P.I.” and “MacGyver.”

Peter M. Lenkov, the developer and showrunner of the “Hawaii Five-0” reboot, took to Instagram to remember Wily.

“I am devastated. Heartbroken,” he wrote. “I’ll post some detailed feelings later. Just too hard right now.”

Lenkov later posted a video tribute to Wily on the platform.

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

He also added that the two just 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 continued.

Dennis Chun, who played Sgt. Duke Lakela in the series, also honored Wily.

“Laura and I are heartbroken to learn of the passing of Taylor Wily,” he penned in a post alongside a photo of the two. “He was not just a great talent but he was a giant of man. His aloha and heart always made sharing a scene with him such a joy. It was an honor to not only work with him but also to call him friend. Rest well, Taylor. Hawaii and I weep tonight. Aloha Taylor until we meet again.”

Wily’s cause of death has not been revealed.

He is survived by his wife Halona and their two children.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.