Taylor Wily, ‘Hawaii Five-0’ actor, dead at 56

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Taylor Wily, ‘Hawaii Five-0’ actor, dead at 56

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Taylor Wily, a former sumo wrestler turned beloved television actor, died Thursday. He was 56.

Details surrounding his death, including Wily’s cause of death, are currently unknown.

“Hawaii Five-0” executive producer Peter Lenkov confirmed Wily’s death to The Associated Press, and shared a number of tributes to his “brother” on social media.

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Taylor Wily, who starred on “Hawaii Five-0”, died Thursday. He was 56. (Hugh Gentry)

“T, as I told you many times, I fell in love with you at the first audition,” Lenkov captioned a video montage of moments with Taylor. “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.”

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He added, “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.”

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Taylor Wily and Peter Lenkov walk red carpet at Hawaii Five-0 premiere

Taylor Wily, played Kamekona on “Hawaii: Five-0.” (Pictured with executive producer Peter Lenkov) (Getty Images)

Wily, who was born Teila Tuli, was a fan-favorite of “Hawaii Five-0” and was known for portraying informant Kamekona Tupuola in 171 episodes of the detective show. Wily also took the character to “Magnum P.I.” for a handful of episodes.

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After competing in sumo wresting and then a short stint in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Wily turned his attention to acting. He found fame in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” as hotel employee Kemo who befriended Jason Segel’s character.

In another post, Lenkov wrote, “I’ve been hearing from thousands of people whose lives Taylor touched. Not surprised one bit. If you met him, he was immediately your friend. I keep hearing from people how ‘approachable’ he was. So true.” 

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“For 10 years we talked about opening a real Kamekona shave ice stand or shrimp truck. Not a franchise. Just one place. So he could be there when not filming to greet customers. That’s what he wanted.”

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Will Yun Lee, who worked with Taylor on “Hawaii: Five-0” wrote on Instagram that Wily was “a prince of a man who was a king, gentle warrior.”

Hawaii Five-0 cast at wedding celebration

Wily was a fan-favorite of “Hawaii Five-0” and was known for portraying informant Kamekona Tupuola in 171 episodes of the detective show.  (Getty Images)

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He added, “Loved him the second I met him. Loved hearing all his stories, especially about the UFC. But mostly I just enjoyed sitting with him in his quietness. Sending love to his family. He will be missed. 

Michelle Borth, who starred as Catherine Rollins on 60 episodes of the hit detective show, wrote, “My heart aches. Taylor was a gentle soul with a big beautiful heart and infectious smile. I’m grateful for the memories and the time we shared. You’ll be missed, but never forgotten my friend.”

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

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