'Hawaii Five-0' Actor Dies: Taylor Wily Was 56

Wily was an actor and former MMA fighter and wrestler.

Taylor Wily, known for his role as Kamekona in the CBS drama Hawaii Five-0, has passed away at 56. KITV 4 Island News in Hawaii confirmed the news, which was announced by his close friend, musician Lina Girl Langi, on her lifestyle show Island Life Live.

Langi shared the somber news with viewers, saying, "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."

Reflecting on Wily's character, Langi added, "He would look physically menacing until you just folded right into a hug, and that was it. My heart is breaking." Her co-host, Davey D, described Wily as one of the "kindest" and "gentlest souls."

Wily, whose real name was Teila Tuli, portrayed Kamekona in 171 episodes of Hawaii Five-0 over its decade-long run from 2010 to 2020. He also appeared in seven episodes of Magnum P.I.

Peter Lenkov, executive producer of both shows, expressed his grief on Instagram, sharing a photo with Wily and stating he was "devastated" and "heartbroken." In a follow-up post, Lenkov reminisced about Wily's first audition, revealing how the actor's charm led to his regular role on the show and in Lenkov's life.

In a second post, he wrote that he "fell in love" with Wily after his first audition. "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," he penned.

"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."

Born in Honolulu in 1968, Wily's career spanned beyond acting. He was a successful sumo wrestler known as "Takamishu," winning his first 14 matches and becoming the first foreign-born wrestler to win the championship in the third-highest makushita division. He also competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2000. Wily's acting portfolio included roles in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Radical, MacGyver, North Shore, and Marker.

The actor's family held a gathering to celebrate his life, with his sister Alyssa sharing a video on social media, according to the Sun. She captioned the clip, "Mourning and celebrating our favorite brother and uncle the way he would want us to. Family, Food, Music and Good Vibes. Aurrrrrrighhhhh (in his voice)." The touching tribute featured Wily's nephews and nieces singing Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds." Wily is survived by his wife, Halona, and their two children.