Akebono Dead, Sumo And Professional Wrestling Legend Dies At 54

Pro wrestler and sumo wrestler Akebono Taro has sadly passed away at the age of 54. The former AJPW and NJPW star had been battling heart issues, and reports in Japan have claimed that he died of heart failure. 

The severity of his heart issues led him to be unable to walk, and he had to use a wheelchair. Born in Hawaii as Chadwick Haheo Rowan, Akebono adopted the name Akebono Taro upon moving to Japan and later acquired Japanese citizenship. He emerged as a prominent figure in sumo wrestling during the '90s, securing his place in history as the first non-Japanese wrestler to attain the prestigious title of yokozuna. 

After calling time on his sumo wrestling career, Akebono had a brief spell in kickboxing and MMA, following which he switched to the pro wrestling industry, with his first match coming in WWE in 2005. He had a total of three matches in the promotion, the most high-profile of them all coming at WrestleMania 21, where he defeated Big Show in a sumo match, which the AEW star calls his most embarrassing moment in wrestling, but also his biggest WrestleMania moment

After his brief run in WWE, he wrestled in Japanese promotions like AJPW, NJPW, Dragon Gate, and Pro Wrestling Zero1. His most successful run in pro wrestling came in AJPW, where he was two-time Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion, as well as two-time World Tag Team Champion.