Taylor Wily, ‘Hawaii Five-0’ And ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ Star, Dead At 56
WAIKIKI, HI - NOVEMBER 10: Taylor Wily attends the Sunset on the Beach event celebrating season 8 of "Hawaii Five-0" at Queen's Surf Beach on November 10, 2017 in Waikiki, Hawaii.
Darryl Oumi / Getty Images

Taylor Wily, who starred in the remake of “Hawaii Five-O” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” died on Thursday. He was 56 years old.

Wily’s death was confirmed on Hawaii’s KITV 4 Island News by musician Lina Girl Langi, one of his close friends.

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

“He would look physically menacing until you just folded right into a hug, and that was it,” she added. “My heart is breaking.”

Michael J. Henderson, Wily’s manager, told Entertainment Weekly that he died from natural causes and no further details would be available at this time.

Wily, born Teila Tuli, was born in Hawaii in 1968 and started his career in the Japanese sport of sumo wrestling in the 1980s and had a successful run, becoming “the first foreign-born wrestler to win the championship in the third-highest Makushita division,” according to People.

He later went on to fight in the first UFC fight in 1993, losing to UFC fighter Gerard Gordeau.


Despite his enormous size and previous career as a professional fighter, he was widely remembered by those who knew him as a “gentle giant.”

Wily appeared in seven episodes of the original “Magnum P.I.” and appeared in the 2008 romantic comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”

He is best known for his role as Kamekona on CBS’s remake of “Hawaii Five-O,” where he appeared in more than 170 episodes during the show’s 10-year run from 2010 to 2020.

“Hawaii Five-O” and “Magnum P.I.” executive producer Peter Lenkov posted on social media that he was “devastated” and “heartbroken” by the news.

“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 said in a follow-up post. “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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